"My name is Haley Zora and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 23, after several months of self-advocacy and many hospital visits to finally arrive at this diagnosis. I was told that “this is going to suck, but you’ll make it through alright.” I focused on this line more than I should have, but it gave me hope that I could go back to a “normal” life afterward.
Of course, not everything during and after treatment was easily navigated. I have residual nerve damage from the chemotherapy drugs, and anything cold is painful my face, fingers, and toes. The weird looks that people give me when I mention my cancer treatment can be awkward to navigate as well. However, this journey has taught me empathy towards others and to acknowledge that everyone may be going through something and to be kind. I have learned to take advantage of what my body can do and to be happy for every healthy moment I can!
Little did I know, I had more than a normal life waiting for me on the other side of this trip. After treatment, I dove back into life and tried to be present in a more mindful way than I had before. My partner and I took a celebratory trip to Peru, where we climbed Machu Picchu and he proposed. We both had more interest in our health and fitness which remains a large part of our lives. We were married in our home province of Saskatchewan in August of 2018 and now live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am currently a dietetic intern with one more semester at Mount Saint Vincent University.
I teach kickboxing, boxfit classes, as well as cooking and serving at a retirement residence here in Halifax. I enjoy motorcycling and teach a basic riding course with the Saskatchewan Safety Council during the summer. Baking always makes me feel better, and I am always open to chat about my journey!
I joined the LLSC advisory committee because I realized that there was a lack of people my age in treatment and I would have loved to have someone more my age to chat with and hear about their experience. Going back to school, fertility, dating, and similar subjects are not always as prominent in resources given by oncologists or cancer centers, so I wanted to help make a difference to other young adults with cancer."