Amanda Campbell earns victory of overcoming thyroid cancer

DETROIT (WXYZ) - It's easy to define Amanda Campbell, 22, as the heptathlon standout at University of Detroit-Mercy, but the accomplishments she's earned while competing in the seven event heptathlon for the Titans track and field team are just half of the story.

Campbell, a graduate student, knew that something wasn't right during her final year as an undergrad in 2011.

"I was kind of feeling a little tired and stuff but didn't really think anything of it. I thought it was just a normal student-athlete kind of life," said Campbell. "And then I got a lump on the side of my neck, and for a while they just kept telling me it was like lymphocytes or some sort of infection."

After visiting a specialist in Detroit, Campbell received the official diagnosis.

"He diagnosed me that day pretty much with thyroid cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes. My doctor in Detroit, his name is Dr. Francis Hall; he is the best doctor ever," said Campbell. "And he really made my decision easy to stay in Detroit and have surgery here."

And here's the good news:

"Everything is gone. I have scans done every year, and it keeps coming back clear," said Campbell.

"Anytime you hear the word cancer, and especially when you're young, that's got to be a scary thing for any athlete," said Brad Fairchild, who is University of Detroit-Mercy's assistant track coach.

"And I could only imagine what her parents must have been going through. She's got a lot of different things on her plate. [She's a] great student. Masters degree [in business administration with a concentration in health care] in five years."

When Campbell was initially diagnosed, a quote sent by her sister was instrumental in helping her pull through.

"Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful," said Campbell.

"And that was kind of my mantra throughout the whole thing."

An open mile was held on University of Detroit-Mercy's campus between Campbell's surgery and treatment.

Campbell decided to run in that open mile, where she was joined by teammates who wore "kick the crap out of cancer" headbands.

"To have them all run the last 100 meters [that] the whole entire team ran, that was amazing," said Campbell.

Here's something even more amazing: Campbell overcoming thyroid cancer.




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