IU Health Simon Cancer Center

College student in remission and speaking out about lymphoma

Patient Stories

December 04, 2019

Abigail “Abbi” Sarabyn, 22, recently learned her lymphoma is in remission and she’s back in school – working toward becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

Abigail “Abbi” Sarabyn was all smiles as she recently took part in a health and healing conference at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church. Other cancer survivors joined her in telling their stories of hope.

After being diagnosed with Diffuse Large Cell B-Cell Lymphoma (DLCBL) Sarabyn took a break from her classes at IUPUI and started treatments at IU Health Simon Cancer Center. She is in the care of Dr. Jose Azar. DLCBL is a cancer that starts in the white blood cells and usually grows in lymph nodes- the pea-sized glands in the neck, groin, armpits and other parts of the immune system. It can grow fast but three out of four people are reportedly disease free after treatment.

Sarabyn is one of those people who recently learned she is in remission. Her diagnosis came during finals week. She thought she was just stressed but when she experienced shooting pains up her arm, she drove herself to urgent care. Scans showed a softball-size mass in chest and blood clots in her lower lobes. She began treatment in May.

She is the daughter of James and Kim Sarabyn and has a brother Matthew, 25.

Her mom said Abbi will continue cardiologist and oncologist visits every three to six months but is otherwise back to normal activities – including classes at IUPUI. After taking a semester off for treatment she is on track to graduate in 2021. A graduate of Pike High School, she has known since she was in the eighth grade that she wanted to study neuroscience. She has her sights set on becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon and also hopes to start a support group for young people fighting life-threatening illnesses.

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Cancer

Cancer care includes a variety of treatments, systematic therapies, surgery and clinical trials.

Lymphoma

A disease in which specialized white blood cells that normally fight infection become abnormal and reproduce.