16 Year Old Erin from Pula Beats Cancer: “Life Has Never Been Better”

Lauren Simmonds

As Glas Istre/Borka Petrovic writes on the 10th of January, 2020, one incredibly brave sixteen year old girl from Pula has taken on and successfully beaten cancer.

”Instead of getting nervous about receiving my exam results in the semester of first grade in high school, I was waiting for my blood test results, and instead of reading for school, I was reading about the side effects of medicines I was going to be taking, and learning about them. As my friends swam in the sea in the summer, I was throwing up. I’m sorry I went through such a difficult period, but my illness was not only a huge burden for me, but kind of a gift, too,” Erin says.

In the Republic of Croatia, about 150 children become ill each year with malignancies. Erin Rupčić is one of them. She found out that she had malignant Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of just fourteen, in the final grade of elementary school. Today, the worst of the cancer is now thankfully behind her. Brave Erin from Pula went through everything she went through while being treated for cancer, the day after her sixteenth birthday was celebrated.

It was 2018, just before the spring holidays. I remember it was Wednesday, because on Friday I was supposed to perform for the senior volleyball team for the first time and I was really excited about that. After school I decided to take a little stroll around the city and I noticed a little lump on my neck. It didn’t seem like a scary thing to me, but I showed it to my mum anyway, and that’s when the visits to the wards of the Pula hospital began,” Erin recalls.

After several diagnoses, from it being a simple cyst to her just having had a mere swollen lymph node, at the insistence of her parents, Erin went for more intense tests in Rijeka. After the results from the PET / CT scans caused alarm, they were followed by a biopsy and an irrefutable diagnosis – lymphatic cell cancer. Her childhood was instantly interrupted in the most unimaginable way possible, and this schoolgirl from Pula was forced to grow up much more quickly than she should have.

”I didn’t even know what cancer was, I was fourteen and had never been seriously ill before. Almost all of my hair fell out after I underwent my first chemotherapy, so I decided to shave the rest of it off. First, I was a little ashamed of it, you don’t see girls without any hair very often. But in the end, it wasn’t that much of a problem for me. I knew my hair would grow back and that I needed to survive,” concludes Erin, who has now beaten the disease and can return to her normal life after a difficult but victorious battle.

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