An Open Letter To My Cancer Surviving Best Friend

Katya Pronichenko.

The most grateful, caring and attentive daughter.

The most loving, joyous and helpful sister.

The most kind, mindful and giving friend.

The most curious, passionate and brilliant student.

The most present, observant and reflective individual.

The most strong, beaming and empowering woman.

The most strong, beaming and empowering woman. 

Katya Pronichenko. She is everything.

In June of 2018, Katya was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer. I remember sitting with her at Espresso Profeta on Glendon Avenue when she opened up to me about her potential diagnosis. That day, two hours from our coffee date, her life was going to change forever. Two hours.

We sat there hopeful. I insisted she was going to be okay, that there is no way it would be her. I would not allow either of us to accept it. The mood lightened as we grew hopeful. We continued to enjoy our lattes as she shared her recent trip to China with me.

A few days later, I received the text, “I have cancer”.

I was wrong.

It was her.

I was wrong.

My best friend. The light of my life. The light of many.. Was just struck with a poison that was to control her life, to throw her into a darkness that she had to work tirelessly to lighten. A job that is the least of easy. A job not many can understand. A job that is utter hell.

And she did just that. She worked tirelessly to lighten the shadow of darkness that clouded her and her family. She woke up every morning with a smile on her face. She continued to give gratitude constantly. She continued to value her time with friends and family. She understood the power of nutrition and health in fueling her body, and most importantly, empowering it. She worked tirelessly. And she did it. She beat it. She beat the cancer.

As Katya has won her battle, she approaches her next chapter, a chapter that is beautiful, exciting, and unknown in the most wonderful way possible.

She will be attending Dartmouth College in the fall of 2019 where she will study environmental economics and work on her first book to be published. She will continue to work tireless hours to support herself and her family. She will continue to inspire and motivate her friends and family. She will continue to believe in herself and others.  Oh, the places she will go.

Katya has taught me the importance of gratitude and presence. She has taught me the importance of inner peace and love. She has taught me the power of resilience and strength. She has taught me that anything is possible, and she will continue to do so every single day to both myself and those around her.

So Katya, thank you. Thank you for being you, and I am so excited to continue to watch you grow. You are freaking awesome.

So Katya, thank you. Thank you for being you, and I am so excited to continue to watch you grow. You are freaking awesome.