CWU student doesn’t let rare cancer keep her from graduating - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

CWU student doesn’t let rare cancer keep her from graduating

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Courtesy CWU Digital Media Content and Public Affairs Courtesy CWU Digital Media Content and Public Affairs
ELLENSBURG, Wash. -

A rare cancer diagnosis won't keep a Central Washington University business student from accomplishing her goal of graduating. 

23-year-old Sabrina Dominguez was a freshman at the University of Washington when she was given her diagnosis. On April 30, 2014, she learned that she has Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. According to health officials, it is a disease that even at the age of 60, an adult would still be considered too young to have.

As she began her treatment, she decided she still wanted to attend college, but also wanted to be closer to family who lives in Yakima. 

“Central was a perfect fit,” Sabrina said.

Sabrina has undergone treatment off and on for four years, but has never had chemotherapy or radiation. She is participating in a new form of treatment called targeted therapy, which attacks specific cells. 

Along with treatment, and attending classes, she worked two jobs at businesses in Ellensburg: Jerrol’s and Suncadia. While her family and doctors may have preferred for her to take a break to let her body fully heal, Sabrina refused to took a quarter off.

“Going from a position where you feel like you’re never really sick and felt confident in what your body can do, to a position where you don’t really trust your body anymore to protect you, you just really feel a lack of control,” Sabrina said. “School has always been the one thing that I know I can do and I am in control of.”

Sabrina says she had days where she thought about how she could be focusing on treatment, but she feels humbled and blessed she was still able to work and attend school at the same time. 

“I am really fortunate to be in the position that I am able to do it because a lot of times, people aren’t able to and they don’t have the choice,” she said.

Sabrina said she didn't tell many classmates or professors about her cancer.

“I don’t look terrible and sick, so a lot of people didn’t know,” Sabrina said.

Instead, classmates would find out on social media where she keeps her family up to date on treatment. When there was a big assignment or exam in jeopardy, she made sure to loop professors in and work with them to still complete her work. 

“I get good grades and I care about my grades and I give it everything I got,” she said.

After graduating, her dream is to work for a company that is positive, empowering and uplifting. She recently accepted a position with a tech start up in Redmond, and will join their marketing team.

As for her health, she received the exciting news that her current treatment may be putting her into partial remission. She is hopeful that one day soon she will be able to say she is in full remission.

“You have to be willing to fight for yourself,” Sabrina said.

Sabrina will attend CWU's commencement this coming Saturday. 

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