CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A 19-year-old University of Virginia student is dealing with devastating news after battling cancer twice already. Noelle Kuhoric learned weeks ago, during her second year at UVA, that her cancer is back for a third time.
Kuhoric is now leaning on family, friends, and the kindness of strangers to help her complete her bucket list in the time she has left.
“I really thought cancer was behind me,” Kuhoric said.
She was pronounced cancer-free back in June, had a celebration, and was ready to take on the world. Weeks later, Kuhoric would receive news that would flip her life upside down.
“I asked the oncologist, I said, ‘just be honest with me, how long would I have to live?’ And he said, ‘without intervention, you have a few weeks to a few months,’" Kuhoric said. “Every day I wake up and now I don’t wait, I don’t say, ‘oh I’ll do it tomorrow.’ If I want to do something I’ll do it today.”
Her cousin Angie started a GoFundMe page so Kuhoric can do her bucket list with her sibling, so they’ll have something to remember her.
Kuhoric’s greatest wish is to make memories in Disney World: “I want to have pictures of them and me in Disney World, that’s really my number one place so I’m looking forward to going,” she said.
She also wants to visit Chicago, the city she wanted to live in post-graduation.
Kuhoric had to withdraw from the university, where she was pursuing a degree in nursing, to continue her battle. She still keeps in touch will friends and mentors, including UVA School of Nursing Senior Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Services Theresa Carroll.
“To get to know a person like Noelle and to honestly only see her expressing strength throughout this, I mean from the day I met her, she is somebody who inspires me and that I look up to,” Carroll said.
“She [Carroll] came and visited me in the hospital when that whole situation happened, and she was there for me,” Kuhoric said. "I mean we’ve cried together, we’ve been on the phone together FaceTiming.”
“I hope everybody has somebody like Noelle in their life, because it reminds you of what’s important and to stay positive no matter what,” Carroll said. "Having that kind of a message to carry around right now... oh boy, we could all use more of this.”
Kuhoric does have faith that a miracle could come her way: “I do still have that sliver of hope, my family even more so than me,” she said.
She has hope in another couple of rounds of chemotherapy and hope in the possibility of a bone marrow transplant. Kuhoric believes one of her younger siblings will likely be a match, but is still looking for a donor.
“I’ve really tried to do my best and to stay positive and to just keep being true to who I am,” she said. "I really did never let cancer take over my life.”
If you want to donate to help Noelle Kuhoric complete her bucket list and make memories these next couple of weeks, click here to visit the GoFundMe page.