“Let’s do this!” was senior midfielder Kailani Decock’s reaction to finding out she had stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Kailani Decock is a student-athlete for the Troy University soccer team. Last summer after spring training, though, her life was flipped upside down.
In June of 2013, Decock was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is cancer of the lymph nodes. Through the process of her treatments, the soccer team, with the help of their head coach Chris Bentley, began a way to raise awareness and support about Hodgkin’s lymphoma through a process called Project 19.
The aim of this project was not only to raise awareness but to remind each and every athlete of just how lucky they are for the opportunity to play. In order to do this, the soccer team dedicated their 2013 season to promote Project 19. With this aim in mind, the team sold purple bracelets in honor of Decock and held events around campus.
“With the money that we’ve raised, I hope to donate it to a non-profit so it can directly help people in this area going through treatment,” Decock said about Project 19’s proceeds. “I couldn’t have imagined having to think about being able to afford it when it’s such an unfortunate situation that’s the last thing you should have to worry about.”
After being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Decock went through chemotherapy for six months. She had 12 treatments, each two weeks apart.
“After my second treatment, actually, I just looked at my mom and was like ‘how I am I going to do this?’” she said. “This is insane, ten more of these. And then she was like ‘you are going to do it.’”
Decock has finished her treatments and is now back on Troy’s campus taking classes and ready for the next soccer season.
“I still have a smile on my face,” Decock said on being back in Troy. “I just can’t wipe it off. It’s amazing just walking around seeing people wearing purple bracelets or random project 19 stuff that they made.”
Decock explained that gettng cancer at age 20 was a lucky thing for her. She has a new attitude on life and lives every moment to the fullest.
When asked about what Project 19 meant to her, Decock could not express the gratitude she had for the support she received.
“Just having my soccer team was enough,” she said. “I mean Troy was amazing. Having a bunch of different schools, I was like wow, that’s amazing. I mean that just proves that there are amazing people in this world. And I’m just so grateful to everyone. And there are no words I can say, just thank you.”