CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WROC) — Hannah Griffith heard the three words no one wants to hear: You have cancer.
The East Rochester field hockey player was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in August of 2017 and went into remission in 2018. Her cancer came back, and she played her junior season while in treatment, showing her strength off the field to her teammates.
“You think, ‘will I ever be cured, will I have to continuously do this?’,” said Griffith.
In the beginning of 2020, her doctors recommended a clinical trial at the University of North Carolina, which would put engineered cells into her body. Despite initial anxiety, she decided to join the trial instead of having a transplant and she traveled with her father down to Chapel Hill for the procedure.
“They did a blood draw to get all of the cells, and then over three months they engineer them to attack the cancer cells,” said Griffith. “When we came down here, I had three days of chemo, then that following Monday I got the cells put in.”
Throughout her stay in North Carolina, Griffith have felt the love and support from her teammates. When she visited UNC’s field hockey facility, her teammates were so excited for her.
“Everyone has been so nice and supportive,” said Griffith. “Everyone reaches out every day to see how I’m doing, it’s so nice.”
Despite all odds, Griffith has remained strong and positive throughout the trial, and hopes she can help pave the way for treatment of other kids and adolescents with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“This could be a main treatment for other kids to be cancer free, so if this does work, it will be good,” said Griffith.