WASHINGTON, Ill. - A former three-sport high school star and current Eastern Illinois University soccer player, Hannah Heinz has had her life turned upside down the past two months.
She's been undergoing treatments to fight Ewing's Sarcoma, a form of cancer.
"I was nauseous all of the time, tired," Heinz said. "Going up and down the stairs was hard, running out of breath. I used to play full soccer games."
She thought she had a nagging groin injury this season but an MRI found tumor near her pelvis in April. The 20-year-old immediately left school and began cancer treatments in Peoria.
Only recently has she been able to walk down her block without losing her breath. But this week, two months after she began treatments, the Washington High School grad got a more promising diagnosis.
Doctors told her she didn't have Ewing's Sarcoma but B cell Lymphoma. The treatments aren't as harsh for B Cell Lymphoma.
She doesn't need radiation and would only need roughly five more months of chemo before two-year period of maintenance treatments would begin.
Heinz says she's feeling better this week and is encouraged that soon she can begin working out again.
"I'm not going to go crazy and start running," Heinz said. "I hope to kick the ball around."
Heinz has been overwhelmed by the support she's received through the St. Jude's Midwest Affiliate in Peoria and the general public. Cubs star Anthony Rizzo surprised her in the hospital a few weeks ago.
The EIU softball team dedicated a game to her fight and her teammates made "Hope for Hannah" bracelets.
Now she has hope she'll return to college and her soccer team. She just doesn't know when.
"I'm hopeful," Heinz said. "It's premature but hope goes a long way."
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