Goalie Doesn't Let Cancer Take Her Out of the Game

When Case Western Reserve University student Anna Kennedy was diagnosed last summer with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, all she cared about was getting back on the soccer field.

Case Western Reserve University student Anna Kennedy

Case Western Reserve University student, and the Spartans goalkeeper, Anna Kennedy

"Being on the field in that intense atmosphere, I felt like I was still myself, and nothing really had changed," says Kennedy, the Spartans goalkeeper, who was named Honorable Mention All-UAA last season for the second consecutive year. "It was a situation dealt to me, and I had to get through it. It could've been a lot worse."

Kennedy carried that positive attitude throughout her fight and refused to put her life on hold. Today, she is in remission and credits her coach, doctor, teammates, family and friends for helping her kick cancer. They, on the other hand, insist it was Kennedy's winning spirit that made all the difference.

"She took charge of her care and well-being," says her doctor, Stan Gerson, MD, director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. "She worked all the way through, keeping her class and team commitments during a treatment that often causes patients to miss many days of school."

Tiffany Crooks, Kennedy's coach, says it was her innate toughness, humor, grit and determination that got her through-attributes that helped the young soccer star stand out even before her diagnosis and will continue to define her throughout her life.

"She's a very talented and special young woman," Crooks says. "I know someday this chapter will be just a tiny piece of her biography. There will be Anna and all these great qualities she possesses and then a small addition...and by the way, she beat cancer."