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Alumna survived breast cancer, spreads awareness and is living her dream

by Monica Smith

Oct 19, 2022, 1:00 PM.


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Telemundo multimedia journalist Priscilla Ferreyra uses her experience to help others.
Priscilla Ferreyra
Priscilla Ferreyra

Priscilla Ferreyra beat cancer and she graduated from FIU in 2020. This was her second degree from FIU as Ferreyra completed her bachelor’s degree in communication arts in 2018. It wasn’t an easy journey, she said, but despite the diagnosis, she earned her bachelor’s degree and was even more determined to complete her master’s in journalism and mass media. Now she’s finally living her dream as a multimedia journalist for Telemundo in Chicago.

“Being a news reporter was always a dream of mine. It was the dream that made me keep pushing through treatment and what I held on to. I am blessed beyond belief for my health. I look back and I’m thankful for all the blessings along the way,” she stated.

The former South Florida resident uses her voice to tell people’s stories and to be the voice for those who may not have one. She also maintains her connection with the American Cancer Society to help spread awareness.

“This is something that we all fight differently. One of my ways is to spread awareness,” said Ferreyra. “I continue to share my story with my peers whenever I can because. I believe it’s so important for young women to also be conscious of their health and do regular self-exams.”

She hopes that through sharing her own story and voice, she can influence the fight against cancer with funding, research and awareness.

“Breast cancer isn’t tied to age—it doesn’t discriminate,” she said.  

Being a student can present challenges but imagine what it may be like if you’re also told you have a disease that could take your life. This was a reality for Ferreyra. 

Too young

Priscilla Ferreyra

“It was January, and you have goals, and you’re planning on graduating that year—everything was aligned,” recalled Ferreyra whose diagnosis came in 2017. She was 25. “I was getting dressed for work and I felt a little lump—being so young, I thought it would go away.” 

Ferreyra hadn’t been worried at all because of her age. She didn’t even feel like going to the doctor to get checked, but at the urging of family and friends, she decided to make the appointment. She was devastated with her diagnosis. Pursuing her bachelor’s degree, Ferreyra looked forward to finishing strong at FIU and didn’t realize that one appointment would lead to a diverted path in her education.

FIU support

Priscilla Ferreyra

Ferreyra sought support from FIU. Her family lived in Colorado at the time but traveled back and forth to help. Ferreyra remained in Miami for treatment and her boyfriend, a fellow FIU Panther and now fiancé, also assisted her. One of the first things she did after her diagnosis was go to the FIU Disability Resource Center. She knew the center would provide good guidance on next steps for accommodations or pausing her education. There, she spoke with a staff member who was also a cancer survivor.

“Hearing from him was eye opening. It was nice to see him overcome the disease—you see so much negativity online,” she noted and discussed how she also reached out to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Her interest in learning how to help both herself and others, coupled with her bilingualism, helped foster Ferreyra’s relationship with the ACS—a relationship that developed into speaking engagements, a breast cancer awareness campaign in Latin America that aired on the Lifetime Channel, and even a video stateside to promote the organization’s support for research.

When Ferreyra decided to return to school, she chose to enroll in some online courses to allow for the flexibility she needed to receive her daily radiation therapy. This too, she highlighted, afforded her the support she required to get healthy and stay on track. She took her laptop with her and worked on coursework in between appointments—a welcome distraction during a difficult time.

“I wanted to graduate. Cancer happened to me, but it was just a hurdle on the way,” said Ferreyra. “I think the most important thing for young women to know is that early detection does save lives.”

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