Local Author, Life Coach to Share Cancer Survival Story at Cayuga

A local author and life coach who is a 24-year cancer survivor will share her own experiences and the inspiration that helped her defeat Hodgkin’s lymphoma later this month at Cayuga Community College.

Kathleen Chaykosky, the author of “Survive Strong with Spirit & Spunk: Inspirational Reflections on My Own Cancer Journey,” will recount her diagnosis, treatment, and how her recovery inspired the past 24 years of her life. The discussion is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday, September 26, in Room M214 on the Auburn Campus.

The event is part of the College’s renewed Cultural and Wellness Series, which this fall includes events on its Auburn and Fulton Campuses. Registration is required to attend and can be completed at using our online form or by calling 315-294-8841.

Emily Cameron, Cayuga’s Assistant Director of Community Education and Workforce Development, said Chaykosky’s message in “Survive Strong with Spirit and Spunk” is inspirational for anyone who has survived cancer or experienced a loved one battling the disease.

“Kathleen’s story is truly incredible, one that captures not only the trauma of being diagnosed with cancer but also the triumph of beating her diagnosis and how she’s inspired people in the years since,” said Cameron. “We’re very excited for her to discuss her book and how her experiences changed her perspective.”

A behavioral health professional who provides life coaching to cancer survivors and their families, Chaykosky has supported people’s mental health for more than three decades. She joined Cayuga in early 2021 as the College’s COVID-19 administrator.

In 1998 she was living in Florida when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer that attacks the body’s lymphatic system. After defeating the diagnosis through what she termed “grueling” treatment, Chaykosky developed an understanding of how the experience affected her.

“Anyone who goes through cancer treatments, the experience impacts every part of your life and the lives of those around you. Every part of your health — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual — can change. I realized that, and wanted to help people who were going through the same experience,” she said.

Chaykosky initially wrote about her experiences on her blog before deciding to pull her thoughts together for a book. After starting the book in February 2022, the writing process moved swiftly and the book was published on September 1.

The book is divided into the four sections: Diagnosis, treatment, remission and recovery, and living beyond cancer. Each of those stages, said Chaykosky, presents its own challenges and triumphs.

Ultimately, the goal is for her work to inspire others who have been diagnosed with cancer or have a loved one battling the disease.

“After getting through what I went through, my purpose is now to use my story to inspire others. I always equate my experience and those of others diagnosed with cancer to a storm. You have to get through the storm to see the rainbow at the end,” she said. “Hopefully, by writing this book and sharing my experiences, I can help people overcome some of the same challenges I experienced.”

For more details on Chaykosky, her book and her life coaching, visit https://survivestrong.com. For questions about the College’s Cultural and Wellness Series, call 315-294-8841.