Kassie battles against lymphoma

Sophomore+Kassandra+Longoria+was+diagnosed+with+non+Hodgkin%27s+lymphoma+in+2013.+Aside+from+this+discovery%2C+she+remains+active+by+playing+soccer%2C+volleyball%2C+and+guitar.++

Sophomore Kassandra Longoria was diagnosed with non Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2013. Aside from this discovery, she remains active by playing soccer, volleyball, and guitar.

In 2011, Kassandra Longoria was first diagnosed with Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), and after running further tests in 2013, she received the news that she had non-hodgkins lymphoma.  Admirably, she has not let any of these experiences deter her positive outlook on life or her aspirations to be successful in the future.

Whether it’s playing volleyball, playing soccer, singing, acting or even playing guitar Kassie has always been very active. Unfortunately, her illness has kept her from playing sports, but Kassie only sees this as a minor interruption and can’t wait to get back involved in playing the games she loves.

As her illness progressed, she was unable to attend Carlsbad High and began her sophomore year at Seaside Academy. After being diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma in 2013 she had to delay her studies, but plans on repeating tenth grade.

“I’m still excited to go back to school and get back into my normal routine,” Longoria said.

For many students, going to school everyday can become a somewhat mundane chore, and we tend to take for granted being able to see our friends everyday, as well as learning in a classroom environment.  For Kassie, having to take her sophomore year off has proved difficult but has not changed her attitude about school itself.

“I do miss seeing everyone, I’m the kind of person who loves going to school everyday single day, so it has been hard,” Longoria said.  “I still hang out with my friends as much as I can, and now that my immune system is strong enough, I have been able to go out more.”

Throughout the duration of her diagnosis and journey, Kassie has received an outburst of support from friends, family and members of her community. Witnessing the strength of her friendships only confirms that even through hardship, their bonds are unbreakable.

“My friends send me a lot of encouraging messages every single day through text messages and Facebook, and I appreciate them all so much, especially since I don’t get to see them as much as I’m used to,” Longoria said. “Even if it’s a little thing, just knowing that they are keeping me in their thoughts has been so encouraging and inspiring.”

Kassie’s story has spread throughout the community of Carlsbad and even reached local singer, song-writer Cody Lovaas.  Upon hearing her story, Lovaas immediately wanted to help in any way that he could and arranged for a surprise visit for Kassie.

“I learned more about Kassandra through social media, and we have been communicating that way,” Lovaas said. “She seems so positive and strong and that means a lot to me.”

Being a musician herself and looking up to Cody as a role model who achieved so much at such a young age made the experience even more unforgettable. Along with Cody, several other individuals have reached out to Kassie, including a fifteen-year-old who recently was diagnosed with the same type of cancer that Kassie is battling. As someone who was just recently diagnosed, this individual wrote to Kassie from the hospital, asking questions and for advice.

“I don’t see myself as an inspiration. I’m just a kid who got diagnosed, you know? So the fact that people take time to send me a letter about their experiences or to ask me questions is the greatest feeling,” Longoria said. “When I’m able to help someone else, it really does make me feel like I’m saving the world in a sense, even if it’s in a small way.”

In addition to the support from her friends, Kassie attends a cancer support group through the Rady’s Children’s hospital called “Some of my best friends are bald.”  All of the members have been through cancer themselves or are siblings of cancer patients.

“The support group has been amazing; everyone there understands exactly what I am going through, and they’re really like my second family.” Longoria said.

After her experiences and witnessing the impact others have had on her, Kassie hopes to act as a sort of mentor for other cancer patients in the future.

“I would love to be able to reach out to people who have a similar diagnosis as me, who are struggling like me or who are the same age as me,” Longoria said. “I think they would really appreciate the perspective of someone who has been in their shoes.”

For Kassie the future still remains bright.

“I honestly can’t wait to see what the future holds. I would love to see where all the people who have helped me along this journey are in the future,” Longoria said. “Whether they are friends or just people who have reached out to support me, they have all played such a huge role in my journey and recovery.”