What a warrior: Stage 4 cancer student graduates cum laude

What a warrior: Stage 4 cancer student graduates cum laude

- Marilee Ohlhoff found out that she had stage 4 cancer when she was in her final year of studies at UP

- She had to suspend her studies while she went through her treatment in 2016, but she continued in 2017 when she was given the go ahead from her doctor

- She ended up graduating cum laude and is extremely grateful for all the support

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Marilee Ohlhoff fought stage 4 cancer whist she was completing her degree and she came out on top. She graduated from the University of Pretoria (UP) with cum laude.

Marilee Ohlhoff was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in April 2016. She was in her final year of her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. Sadly, the cancer had progressed and was already in stage 4, having entered her bone marrow and bone structure.

Despite the severity of the diagnosis however, her prognosis was good. The extensive BEACOPP, which is an invasive form of chemotherapy treatment is something she would have to endure. This treatment breaks the body down to a point where daily functioning becomes almost impossible.

Due to this, Ms Ohlhoff had no option but to suspend her studies with immediate effect. A personal meeting was arranged by Prof Antoinette Lombard, the Head of the Department of Social Work and Criminology, to discuss how UP could support and assist her in order for her to complete her degree once she has regained her health.

So much support and concern was shown by the faculty members while Ohlhoff received her treatment.

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Having gone through this ordeal, Ohlhoff described it as ‘both the best and the worst experience of her life’. At the end of 2016, she was given the “all” clear and declared free of cancer.

This gave her the drive that she needed in order to grasp every opportunity that come her way. As her final chemotherapy session was in October 2016, Ohlhoff returned in 2017 to complete her degree, despite the fact that her body was still very weak.

She worked with dedication, making a huge impact in the Lethabong community. She has initiated an income generation project. This was part of her internship at Kungwini Welfare Organisation, reported The Good Things Guy.

“The University of Pretoria (UP) exceeded my expectations by offering opportunities that go far beyond its outstanding tertiary education.’ She further says that the curriculum of the BSW degree challenged her to look beyond her comfort and security and opened her eyes to the intricacies of world.”

Briefly.co.za learnt that Ohlhoff was able to graduate within the four years specified for her degree. She says it’s with thanks to UP where she was provided with a platform for both personal and professional growth.

She received loving support from her lectures and fellow students and will be forever grateful. Amazingly, Ohlhoff graduated cum laude.

“I would like to thank every lecturer and fellow student that empowered, equipped, encouraged and supported me – also my friends and family for their immeasurable love and support. Above all, I want to glorify God, my greatest encourager.”

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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