It was late July when athletic trainer Emily Link received news that could potentially alter her life.
Link was diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer known as Hurthle Cell Carcinoma, a disease that accounts for about 3 percent of all thyroid cancer cases, according to EndocrineWeb.
The diagnosis came after a tumor, which Link said was the size of the palm of her hand, was discovered on the side of her neck.
Link then underwent surgery on August 11 to remove her thyroid.
“Attitude is the only thing you can control when you are given something like this,” Link said. “I have chosen to have a good one, a positive one.”
Since the diagnosis, Link said she has received a lot of support from the athletic department, especially the football team. Offensive lineman Hudson Johnston has gone on the same diet Link has had to begin in preparation for her upcoming treatment.
Johnston said he went on the diet in order to support Link and also get in shape himself. He also talked very highly about his relationship with Link.
“She’s like a big sister and she’s always there when I need her,” Johnston said.
Tyler Rowell, worked a lot with Link during his freshmen year while recovering from a torn ACL.
“If you’re whining about being sore, she still makes you work through it because she knows it will make you better and keep you working towards that final goal,” Rowell said.
Link said the support she’s received has been incredible and that the entire athletic department has shown her a lot of love. The sports medicine team has also been very helpful, making it easier for her to leave for appointments, she said.
Link said she thinks a lot of people have been surprised with the news because she is still working all the time. Johnston said that while everyone supports Link it’s hard to tell most of the time that something is going on.
“The way she acts, it’s so hard to tell she needs support,” Johnson said. “She’s been very strong, and you would never guess that anything is wrong.”
Link said getting back to work has made it easier for her as she was able to get back to her normal routine and she has received messages from current and former athletes checking up on her.
She was also acknowledged during the volleyball team’s Pass, Set, Kill Cancer night on Oct. 5, something that she said she really appreciated
“It was really nice, and it meant a lot to me and my family,” Link said.