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Rachel Mignanelli: A Real Warrior

By Megan Snow ‘20

Staff Writer


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.

Rachel Mignanelli is a student at Merrimack College studying Education. Mignanelli is a real warrior, here is her story:


What does it mean to be a warrior to you? What makes you a true warrior?

What it means to be a warrior to me is being able to tackle anything that life throws at you whether it is getting through classes or something in your own personal life. I think what makes me a true warrior is being able to go through anything in life with a smile and strength.


When were you diagnosed with cancer? And what type of cancer was your diagnosis?

I was diagnosed with cancer in August of 2014. The type of cancer I had was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.


How did you cope with your diagnosis at first? Did your attitude towards your diagnosis change at any point in time?

When I first got diagnosed I was very shocked and could not believe that I had cancer. After getting told that news I just did not know what to do with myself that night. I knew through I had to fight through this and stay positive. I feel my attitude throughout this whole entire journey was very positive but there were times it really got to be because I was either just in pain all time or tired. In those times, I just wanted to give up and just not fight anymore. Sometimes I really wondered if it was ever worth It.


What kind of support systems did you have in this moment (friends, family, etc.…)?

The kind of the support systems that I had through this diagnosis was my friends and family. The one person that was a huge support system for me when I was going through this was my twin sister. She promised me that she would be at every appointment and ever treatment. She kept her promise to me and no matter what I had to go through to was always their supporting me every step of the way.


How did your family react to your diagnosis?

My family reaction to me having cancer was more shocked then anything. I do not think they were expecting me to ever get something like this.


Was there any part of your experience that was truly traumatic?

The only part I think that become truly traumatic was while going through treatment they saw a little lump in the breast. So, I went through many other tests to determine it was not cancerous. Luckily it was bine which means it was not canerous at all. This was very hard to go through because here I was already fighting one cancer and then I could possibly have another type but thank god that was not the case.


What have you learned from this kind of experience?

What I have learned to go through this experience is that when life throws you for a loop. You cannot just sit back and let it take you. You have to fight back with everything and then you will end up getting through it stronger. I have also learned that your family and friends will be there for you no matter what.


How are you now, after going through this experience?

I am now in 2 years of remission. I still get very nervous and scared one day it will come back but I know I can fight through it even if does. I am very happy with how healthy I am and continue you to be.


Do you have any advice for people who might be going through something similar? Or have before and do not know how to cope with it?

The advice I would give to people that are going through something similar is to never give up and always fight. It will be worth it all in the end. This maybe a scary experience that you go through or one of your loved one are going through is that the fight is worth it because you can prove to everyone how strong you truly are.