Peet freshman celebrating 10 years cancer free

By Alayna Yates

At the age of four, Peet freshman Raelynn Smith was diagnosed with an eye cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma.

“I had to do multiple rounds of chemo and radiation and lost my hair due to the chemo. I had surgery on my eye at one point where they took out the tumor behind my right eye,” Smith said.

This month, Smith celebrated her 10th year of being cancer free. Today she is involved in many activities.

“I am involved in gymnastics, and I have been in that for about five years. I am in track, and I love it so much, and I am also in school cheer. My favorite part about cheer is the tumbling and the stunting during games. My accomplishments in those is I have about 90 medals and seven trophies (six of them are first place) from gymnastics, and I am so proud of myself for that,” Smith said. “The doctors said because of cancer I might not have been able to do things like that as good as others, but I am doing amazing.”

Reflecting back to when she was only four, Smith said she knows she doesn’t remember a lot of what happened, but one memory does stick out.

“I don’t really remember a whole lot about when I found out I was cancer free ’cuz I was only four, but I remember the nurses coming in and singing a song about it being my last chemo treatment.”

Smith said that every day is a blessing, and she’s thankful for all that she has today. “It feels absolutely amazing to celebrate being 10 years cancer free. I am so blessed and thankful for all of the years that I have had,” Smith said.

Throughout Smith’s journey she has made some great friends along the way. She’s thankful for all the friends she made in the hospital and grateful for new opportunities. She’s involved in the Dance Marathon in Iowa City at the University of Iowa and also the one hosted here in Cedar Falls at UNI.

With proud and supportive friends, Smith’s 10th anniversary was one to remember. Smith’s friend Jaylynn Easterly had a lot to say about her. “She’s a great friend who has always been there for me, and I can go to her whenever I need something to talk too. She’s super good at gymnastics and cheerleading and very strong-hearted and can get through anything she puts her mind to,” Easterly said.

Today, Smith has checkups every two years. They draw blood to make sure she is still cancer free. “I go to the University of Iowa Hospital. I am very appreciative of them and what they did for me,” Smith said.

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