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How a 23-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Is Inspiring Her Peers to Stay Strong Despite Their Diagnosis

Photos: Courtesy of Ron Travisano

Brianna Bossotti, who lives in Queens, New York, was diagnosed with stage 2A Hodgkin’s lymphoma in March of last year, and has been cancer free since October 2017. Now, she’s using her experience to help inspire other young people facing the disease know that having cancer doesn’t mean you have to stop living — and that they shouldn’t give up hope.

“You can get through it,” says Bossotti, adding that her strong support system at home helped her endure.

Diagnosis and treatment

After being diagnosed through a biopsy, she underwent two additional surgeries and 12 weekly chemo treatments. What made her experience with chemo distinct was her choice to wear cold caps, which can help patients retain their hair during treatment. Strapped onto the head and frozen till they reach negative 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, cold caps can help create a barrier between the head and chemotherapy.

Bossotti says being diagnosed with cancer was challenging, but the idea of losing her hair was harder, and the caps enabled her to retain her locks.

Documenting her journey

Bossotti began blogging early on, under the name “A Thorned Blue Rose” about her experience with the cold caps, nausea from treatment and other topics like how to treat a friend who’s just been diagnosed with cancer. Blue roses, she explains, symbolize eternal life, whereas the thorn in her blog name is meant to symbolize cancer.  

GIVING HOPE: Through her personal blog, “A Thorned Blue Rose,” (a symbol for hope and a healthy life after a diagnosis) Bossotti has inspired others who have been diagnosed with or affected by cancer. 

“Obviously, I’m not going to live forever, but it symbolized that I’ll get through this and life a healthy life after cancer,” she says.

Eventually, Bossotti began sharing her posts, inspiring others affected by cancer. As she received their messages, she began to feel less alone and less ashamed of her diagnosis. That’s what she wants other young people diagnosed with cancer to take away from her experience, explains Bossotti.  

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