Krystil, 19, Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkins Lymphoma

Softball Star Keeps the Faith

Krystil Burney’s exceptional skills as softball player earned her an athletic scholarship to Steven F. Austin University (SFA) and a spot on the university’s softball team. But her dream of playing collegiate sports soon turned into a nightmare.

(2006) – Krystil returned from freshman orientation at SFA with what seemed to be bronchitis.  Even after treatment, her illness persisted and she was sent to see a lung specialist.

There, Krystil underwent a battery of more tests.  The Burney family convened at the specialists’ office where they were given the shocking news that Krystil most likely had cancer.

Initially, Krystil was diagnosed with Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkins Lymphoma, but the only definite way to tell was a biopsy procedure.  Results from the biopsy, performed by a radiologist at a local hospital, proved inconclusive.

Krystil and her family decided to go to Texas Children’s Cancer Center to find answers to the cancer mystery.  At the Cancer Center, physicians confirmed the initial diagnosis—Krystil had lymphoma.

After undergoing four cycles of chemotherapy, followed by three weeks of radiation, she was finally in remission, cancer free and headed back to college.

But the following February, Krystil noticed the familiar symptoms of a respiratory infection had returned.  At a check-up a month later, physicians at the Cancer Center discovered that Krystil had relapsed—and she had about seven tumors in her lungs.

After a large mass collapsed her right lung and left her with limited capacity to breathe, Krystil knew her cancer was back with a vengeance.

She needed aggressive treatment and a bone marrow transplant in order to beat the cancer.

“My life really changed as a result of my cancer diagnosis,” said Krystil.  “But I know that everything will be alright if I keep faith in the Lord, who will heal me one day.”

Because of her unshakable faith and positive attitude, 19-year-old Krystil has become a role model to other children at the Cancer Center.  She enjoys mentoring fellow patients and teaching them ways to help cope with a diagnosis of cancer.

“I will get through this, and I will come out the other side a better person for this,” she said. “and I can’t wait to play softball again.”