In March 2007, Rhondalyn Acklin, 16, noticed an enlarged lymph node. Concerned about their daughters health, Rhondalyns parents made an appointment with the doctor. He recommended surgery, and before long, Rhondalyn had the node removed. Biopsy results revealed startling new s – Rhondalyn had Hodgkins disease, or cancer of the lymph nodes. The diagnosis was followed by 12 weeks of chemotherapy at St. Judes in Huntsville and every four weeks at its main facility in Memphis. Chemotherapy was followed by two weeks of radiation. As Rhondalyn lost clumps of hair, she didnt get upset – she saw it as a sign the treatments were working and simply shaved her head. "Its just hair – it will grow back," she says.
A cheerful and fun-loving student at Oakwood Academy, Rhondalyn hasnt let cancer keep her down. Although she struggled with having to miss weeks of school, she kept up with her studies and passed all her finals. She is grateful for her family, friends, teachers, and schoolmates, who supported her with prayers, visits, phone calls, and cards.
Now that she is back in school, Rhondalyn has returned to activities she loves. She is completing her requirements as a Certified Nurses Assistant, and has resumed her duties as secretary for both her class and her school. She also sings in the Oakwood Academy choir, is on the school Step team, and works at the skating rink! Rhondalyn is excited about her garden, and says she has always wanted to plant one. It stands as a reminder of the strength she found through her faith in God. She and her parents hope her experience will strengthen others faith as well.