By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Stuy Town native Alexa Cucchiara is excited to be graduating from college next spring, but she has more reason to celebrate than most: she is doing so after surviving cancer and writing a book.
Cucchiara was a sophomore at Marist College in Poughkeepsie about two years ago when she started not feeling well and got a swollen lymph node about the size of a golf ball around her collarbone. She went to the doctor to get it checked but it wasn’t until September 2017 when she was about to start her junior year that a doctor confirmed that she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and would need chemotherapy.
“I turned 20 and then six days later I started chemo,” she said. “I would always joke around and would say, no, this is preparing me for adulthood. I would try to embrace it and have fun with it, even when I lost my hair and everything.”
Now studying at Fordham University in the Bronx to be closer to her family and network of friends who supported her while she was sick, Cucchiara at first couldn’t believe she had cancer and even when her doctor recommended surgery and chemotherapy for treatment, resisted the idea that she would have to leave school to recover.