Meet Aneta, a 24-year-old hailing from the Czech Republic. Since her diagnosis, Aneta has learned never to give up, face obstacles with unwavering optimism, and redefine her priorities. In this interview, she shares the profound impact of her diagnosis, her love for various activities, and her belief in the goodness of humanity.

What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?

My name is Aneta, I’m 24 years old and I’m from the Czech Republic.

What’s your diagnosis?

Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

How and when did you find out about your diagnosis?

In August 2016 I started to have an itchy skin and rash. They quickly realised it wasn’t an allergic reaction but a cancer symptom. I got diagnosed and started chemo in October that year. I was 17 years old.

What has the journey through cancer taught you?

Not to ever give up, fight obstacles that are in front of me and stay as optimistic as possible. 

What has changed in your life since your cancer diagnosis?

I reconsidered things that I thought were important to me and defined me and started to focus on what actually was. For example, a year before high school graduation, I decided to completely change the direction of my university studies. From studying international relations and political science, I finally decided to study applied mathematics.

What do you do in your free time?

I like doing different kinds of sports or hiking and backpacking in nature if I have more free time. I’m part of the French-speaking theatre group as well. I also like a good wine with my friends in a wine bar while listening to Moravian traditional folk music and finally, I am trying to get more into film photography.

What is your favorite motto in life?

“Když nejde o život, nejde o nic.” Loosely translated in English “If your life’s not at stake, nothing is at stake.” Just try not to be stressed out or anxious about every minor thing that is not important to you.

What makes you instantly light up?

Hearing somebody talk about their passion. Even though I don’t know the topic well, just to hear that person talking passionately makes me happy every time.

What is on your bucket list?

Finishing a 100 km long distance march and walking The Way of St. Francis (Northern way from la Verna to Assisi), a pilgrimage route in Italy.

What defines you as a person?

My belief in the good nature of humans and that love is the meaning of life.

What in your life do you feel most grateful for?

I’m grateful for people in my life who inspire me every day and with whom I can grow, but at the same time have fun, joke around and create experiences.

How do you cope when things get hard?

I usually need someone to talk to. I try to remind myself that it’s okay to ask for help from friends or even professionals if necessary. With cancer-related struggles, I love that I can reach out to the community that EU-CAYAS-NET is creating. The power of dialogue is essential in these moments.

Self-care days are also important to me when I’m feeling overwhelmed (enjoying a long shower, watching a movie, baking something,…).

What is one song you would definitely recommend listening to?

The instrumental song “Una mattina” from the movie “The Untouchables” (and I would recommend the movie very much as well).