Inspiring article on Linday Payne ’06.

For the longest time Lindsay Payne did not want to talk about her battle with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). It is quite likely that everyone who jumped into the pool to race Lindsay Payne in her four competitive seasons at Williams had no idea that Lindsay had spent very little time in the pool before arriving at Williams due to ALL. Lindsay was diagnosed with ALL the summer she was 12.

Payne not only overcame ALL she went on to win seven individual NCAA titles in Div. 3, broke three NCAA Div. 3 records this year (two of her own and beat the previous record holder for a third), was named Swimmer of the Meet at the NCAA Div. 3 Championships for the second year in a row and has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials for a second time (first being in 2004) in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. In her four years at Williams Payne lowered her time in the 100 breaststroke by 7.72 seconds (from 1:08.26 to 100.54) and by 15.88 seconds in the 200 (from 2:28.71 to 2:12.83).

Lindsay Payne never used her overcoming ALL as a badge of honor or an excuse, but it did change her life and now as the 2005-06 Honda Inspiration Award winner she would like to use this opportunity to inspire other kids with cancer to continue their fight and to encourage others to donate to fund research.

Any parent has to tear up here.

Lindsay knew things were serious and she knew she needed a lot of medical help. “I was a little kid,” she said. “I just did what they told me to do. It was hard, very hard, especially losing my hair and looking like a kid with cancer and all, but I was not going to let it get to me.”

After the first 30 days of intensive therapies with ALL you must receive chemotherapy and radiation for two to three more years, treatments that are designed to knock the cancer out of you, but that also rob you of all of your strength and endurance. With ALL, once remission is achieved after 30 days of intense chemotherapy you are provided a protocol (map of treatments) that cover the next two to three years. Major treatments are done every three weeks. When the Paynes returned to Charlotte, Lindsay received treatments at the Pediatric Oncology Group at Bowman Gray in Winston-Salem.

Early on in the treatment when Mary was holding Lindsay during a particularly difficult day, Lindsay said, “You’ll never know the dreams I had.” Mary gathered herself and said, “I know it looks like this is all bad news right now and I promise you that at the end you will look back and it will all have been worth it.”

Congratulations all around.

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