For most Ohio State students, the stress of classes, work and balancing a social life can be overwhelming enough. Lauren Wisehart, a second-year in molecular genetics, found herself dealing with another more serious, rarer issue.
On July 30, Wisehart was diagnosed with a glioma mass, a brain tumor. Wisehart and her parents met with several specialists before deciding to undergo a surgery to remove the tumor in August at Nationwide Childrens Hospital.
Wisehart was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority at OSU through the ordeal, and she said her sisters have been there for her since her diagnosis. She remains a member today.
“They planned a surprise birthday party for me at the hospital, they came to my house on home visit day and we watched football. Since being discharged, they have helped my family get me into the sorority house so I could participate in all my chapter meetings, sorority rush and big-little hunt,” Wisehart said.
Wisehart said the tumor was located in her brain stem, which was something Nationwide Children’s Hospital and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital had never seen before. After surgery to remove the tumor, Wisehart was admitted to the intensive care unit, and shortly after, her condition worsened.
“I spent three weeks in the ICU unable to breathe on my own and suffered from many other illnesses, including pneumonia, pancreatitis, IV infiltrate, collapsed lung and had to be put in isolation and also in a medically induced coma,” Wisehart said. “After being transferred from the ICU, I spent the next 65 days on the rehab floor.”
Since her discharge, Wisehart has remained cancer-free, but specialists are still working to find the cause of the tumor and if it will return. Wisehart has continued with physical, occupational and speech therapies both in her home in Powell, Ohio, and at outpatient therapy at the OSU Martha Morehouse Rehab, Powell location.
One of Wisehart’s close friends and philanthropy chair of Tri Delta, Emily Perry, organized a fundraiser on her behalf.
“When she got diagnosed, that was a really rough patch for a lot of people. The first thing that I did was make a gray LiveStrong bracelet that said, ‘Tri Delta Loves Lauren,’ and I sold those for her. Every girl in Tri Delta has one, and we also sold them to all different people,” said Perry, a second-year in biology.
She attests to the strength she has seen in Wisehart throughout her journey.
“I think the coolest thing about (Wisehart) is you see her strength in everything she does,” Perry said. “She is one of the best people I have ever met, and she’s had to fight through this hard time but has still been such a positive person.”
Tri Delta’s national philanthropy is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Tri Delta nationally has raised more than $41,500,000 since its 1999 partnership. OSU’s chapter has raised more than $152,000 in the past 12 years through its philanthropy events during the school year, according to the chapter website.
President of Tri Delta at OSU, Lauren Perry, a second-year in operations management, said Wisehart’s diagnosis and journey has hit close to home for many members.
“Just knowing what it feels like to have someone who shouldn’t have to go through that go through that, it helps bring the cause so much closer to our hearts because we know someone who fought cancer when they should be experiencing life like everyone else. It really helps us understand the work we are doing,” Lauren Perry said.
Wisehart said she advises anyone going through a similar situation to “try their best to stay positive and surround themselves with positive people.”
Wisehart said her dreams and goals of getting “back to normal” are what helps keep her motivated to stay strong and get better.
“I think that I am motivated because of my desire to be a great academic student and pursue my dream of being a neurooncologist. Also being back to my independent self, driving, working and spending time with friends whenever I want, these goals and the support of my family and friends keeps me motivated,” she said.