Spring break for Katerina Delawyer has always involved traveling with her mom and dad, but this year, travel plans are a bit different.
That’s because Katerina’s mom, Sondra, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, will not be tagging along.
“After my mom got diagnosed with cancer, she told me to continue my life, to continue with my passion for dance,” Delawyer, a first-year dance major, said. “She wants me to go on, so she helped plan a trip with my dad and friends.”
While Delawyer's mother will be battling cancer in Lubbock, Delawyer said her mom wanted her to continue enjoying her break like any other year.
Delawyer said she, her dad and her two closest friends will be going to a concert in Lubbock, a rodeo in Houston and skiing in Colorado.
Delawyer said surrounding herself with friends and family seemed like the best way to spend her spring break.
“At a time like right now, I am very delicate and I’m not ready because my mom’s story is so fresh and new,” she said.
Delawyer said she has coped with her mom’s cancer by believing in the power of prayer.
“I definitely believe God has made me more open," she said. "He has gotten me to ask for help from other Christians, too."
Delawyer said she hasn't always been religious, though.
“Senior year in high school, my mom had a scare, and my guy friend told me I needed to believe in the power of prayer,” she said.
The night of the scare, Delawyer said she prayed with her brother, and the very next day, her mom called and said the doctors read the scans wrong.
“On some of my hardest days, God can always find a way to make me smile and laugh and just remember the worst things are yet to happen,” she said.
Her mother’s attitude toward her cancer remains positive and upbeat, and Delawyer said she has reassured her that everything will be just fine.
“She is the most amazing woman I have ever met,” she said. “She always puts on her cutest clothes, she never complains, she never shows people she is going through the hardest things.”
Delawyer said this sense of continuity is an encouraging testament to her mother’s strength.
She said she usually keeps emotional struggles to herself, and that dance is her escape from whatever obstacles she may encounter.
Hannah Hunt, a junior dance major, said she dances with Delawyer regularly and had no idea of her mother’s diagnosis because she always focuses on the task at hand.
“She’s very focused and her talent isn't something she rests with," Hunt said. "She is determined and always looking out for the whole group."
Because of her mother's strength and encouragement through her battle with cancer, Delawyer said she would continue to live her life as a normal college student.
“I hope to make lasting memories that will remind me the importance of friendship, family and life because you never know how short life is," Delawyer said.