Battle with cancer spurs a college degree

Sarah Cherry, Intro To Journalism Writer

Cancer is often seen as an ending. For Leah George, it was just a beginning.


“I wanted the cancer to count for something positive,” she said.


George was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in October 2007, and she came close to death as a result. However, when she made it through, she knew that she had to get some things done.


“The difficult thing of cancer is that you face your own mortality,” George said. “When you face your own mortality you get a daunting sense of courage and a lack of fear.”


She decided that she was going to go back to college, majoring in history. Due to her childhood and family roots, she was always interested in the subject. However, there were some things that she wanted to change.


“[Historians] write in a way that your head hits the desk by the second page. That’s a tragedy,” she said. “For me, history is alive. History’s fluid.”


Even though the cancer was no longer in George’s body, it led to health issues during her college years. She said that this was the hardest experience during her time at the University of Montana.


“I remember struggling to get up the stairs with the students, and struggling even more to get down. That was the hardest part,” she said.


Finally, in May 2015, George received her degree. According to her, these had been some of the best years of her life.


“I’m here because I’m alive, and I get to be. And I’m thrilled.”