By Lauren Smith ‘18
When students come to Merrimack College, they are named “warriors.” It’s a nickname mainly used to describe the school’s athletes.
But every student at Merrimack has their own battle and every student has a reason why they are a true warrior. Every edition, The Beacon will talk to a student to find out what makes them who they are and why they see themselves as a warrior.
Here is a look at Emalee Lampert, a warrior for her mother who has recently battled breast cancer.
So what makes you a real warrior? Everyone has a story. Do you have anything you want to talk about first off that makes you, you?
I feel like experiences make me aware of who I am and who I want to be. What you have to go through in life is what gets you to the point where you’re at now. You go through obstacles that change you as a person.”
Do you have a specific experience that has shaped you as a person?
Yeah, I guess so. Last January, my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer, so that’s like a really big thing that has changed me. You don’t know what’s ever going to happen. It’s not something you would ever expect to happen to your parents and family. I feel like everyone looks up to their parents and automatically assumes well “my mom never gets sick.”
How is she today?
She wasn’t really sure if she was going to get through all the surgeries, but yes, she pushed through. She was a real warrior.
I’m sure that was a lot to take under, how did you handle all of it?
I went here for first semester freshman year and then I ended up transferring to a school closer to home. I tried to get through the semester and take courses, but it was in no way easy. I ended up messing up mid through the semester and my mom’s surgeries were during it all, so it was really hard.
It was a big change to have to do that and also, it was a really uncomfortable thing to talk about with people. A lot of people just didn’t know how to react. Some people just didn’t want to talk about it at all, basically being like “yeah, well good luck with that. I hope your mom doesn’t die”
Do you have siblings, was anyone around helping too?
Yes, I have an older brother. He was home for the whole time too. We were both helping my mom, but it was really hard. Washing your mom’s hair and being a caretaker isn’t something you really expect to ever take on at this age. Since my parents are divorced, so we had to pick up the slack. Everything had seemed to be going so well too. We had just moved into a new house a month earlier and adopted a dog and then bam everything came down so quickly.
Did you have a support system at least?
I tried to go to my friends, but a lot of them didn’t know how to help or talk to me, because they’ve ultimately never experienced something like that themselves. There would be things I just didn’t want to hear, “Oh well your mom will definitely make it through,” but you just don’t know that. Nothing’s guaranteed. I wanted someone real to talk to.
How long did it take your mom to recover?
She found out in January and then her first surgery was in April for a mastectomy. My mom is actually a nurse in the operating room, so when the other nurses performed her mastectomy. We were really kept in the loop when in the hospital, since they were all her best friends, but it was also so hard and pressuring for them, as you can assume. Then my mom was out of work completely, and it’s not like you put away money for something like that to happen, so a lot of people from the hospital, where she works, helped with money. After that, I last minute decided I should go back to Merrimack. Then my mom actually had to get a second surgery a few days before I moved back in last semester so I had to move myself in. It was hard coming back.
Do you think everything’s helped you become a stronger person from within the past year?
I think so, it definitely made me grow and mature as a person. It allowed me to deal with the smaller things that came my way… I don’t take anything for granted.
Coming back to Merrimack was a weird choice for me, I wanted to stay home with my mom and be there with her, but at the same time, education is key. I want to be a doctor so this pushes me to strive to achieve that goal one day.