Meet Ketiona Malolli, a 29-year-old EU-CAYAS-NET ambassador. Diagnosed with osteosarcoma at the young age of 13, Ketiona has faced challenges head-on, emerging with an unwavering spirit and a dedication to helping others.

young women osteosarcoma survivor

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

My name is Ketiona Malolli, friends and family call me Katie. I am 29 years old. Originally I’m from Albania, but I’ve been living in Athens since I was 3 years old.

What’s your diagnosis?

I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on my left arm, which was amputated because of relapse and later I had a metastasis on my lung.

How and when did you find out about your diagnosis?

When I was 13 years old I was feeling some pain on my arm, but hadn’t gone to check it. So, some months later, when I was 13.5, I had a small bone fracture on my arm and  that’s how we found it out.

What would you like to accomplish within EU-CAYAS-NET?

Advocate for survivors’ rights, get involved in PPIE and gain more knowledge in order to inform people more about cancer and survivorship and eliminate stigma.

13 year old osteosarcoma survivor

What has changed in your life since your cancer diagnosis?

My life has been totally different since my diagnosis. My body is different because of the amputation and I have some late effects. On the other hand, I feel much stronger, more resilient in any situation and a big chance to meet other young survivors and a feel of belonging was offered to me, which I really appreciate.

If you were to meet yourself the day you heard a diagnosis, what would you say to your younger self?

I would tell her that I trust her to overcome any hard situation and after this big storm a lot of brighter days will come. She will live many beautiful moments with people she loves and nothing can stop her from the things that she really wants.

Try to describe yourself in 3 sentences

I am a very compassionate person, who has a strong will to provide any kind of help to others by listening, caring and acting for them and at the same time for myself. I am an adventurous person, I get engaged in different kinds of activities and I love traveling. Lastly, I am an extrovert and very outgoing person.

What do you do in your free time?

I try to travel a lot, I go for running and I take a lot of photos. I even had 2 photo exhibitions.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

By helping others you, at the same time you help yourself and by helping yourself, at the same time you can help others. But sometimes you just need some rest and vacations.

What is your favorite motto in life?

There is always a little light inside of you. Stay with the little light, no matter how small it is and one day it will become bigger and brighter.

What defines you as a person?

My optimistic attitude in life, my positive energy and my empathy. Maybe my almost permanent smile, too!

Osteosarcoma survivor from Europe

How do you cope when things get hard?

I’ve been through painful situations many times and what I’ve learnt is to accept even my hardest emotions like pain, fear, anger, disappointment or even feeling unpurposeful. I know that life is like an electrocardiogram, sometimes you might be up and other times you might be down. Thankfully, it is not a straight line.

What lesson was hardest for you to learn?

That I cannot change the world and save everyone. When I was young, I had this strong will to change the whole world and make it a better place to live on, but now I know this is not feasible. What I can change, though, is my own self and become better, so maybe if everyone did that, the world would become better automatically.

Which app do you use the most on your phone?

Spotify, I am addicted to music and podcasts.