WIU Student Advocates for Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Kaitlyn Bossolono feels like a regular young woman now, but four years ago the then 16 year old’s life was flipped upside down by cancer.

“I had no emotion,” she said. “I didn’t know anyone who had cancer.”

What doctors insisted was constipation turned out to be a germ cell tumor in Kaitlyn’s ovary. A kind of cancer that her mom was shocked her young daughter could have.

“It was real surprising because you do think of it as older ladies,” Shirley McLaughlin, Kaitlyn’s mom said. “Something an older woman would get.”

After many rounds of chemotherapy and one reoccurrence of tumors, Kaitlyn was declared in remission in September of 2012.

The thought of it returning is always in the back of her mind.

“I still say, ‘I’m in remission. I’m not cured,'” she said. “It could come back. Even though there’s a high chance it won’t, still anything could happen.”

Chemotherapy left some lasting effects. Kaitlyn only has one ovary and struggles with anxiety.

“It is worth it,” she said. “Some days it’s hard to think that it’s worth it, but all in all it is worth it.”

Now that she’s healthy, she’s working to create awareness for the disease. Last year she worked with the WIU Women’s Center to put of posters around town, and even gave a speech about her battle.

“It is a very deadly disease,” she said.

And mom is on board too. She said she is proud of her daughter for speaking out.

“Younger girls can get this,” she said. “She’s young, and it happened to her.”