For Blaire Nathanson, one of her fondest and most treasured memories is suiting up for Team Israel at the 2017 World Lacrosse Championships. Along with her teammates, Team Israel took England and the games by storm, securing Israel’s best finish to date; an accomplishment she is most proud of. Her grit, strength and determination that she gained during her years of playing lacrosse would help her take down her toughest opponent yet: a cancer diagnosis.
Two days after exchanging wedding vows, Blaire Nathanson should have been looking forward to relaxing on her honeymoon with her new husband. Instead, she received a phone call from her doctor that would put her honeymoon and life as she knew it on hold. She was told she had leukemia, specifically Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL), an aggressive type of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
Blaire packed her bags and headed towards the hospital where she would stay for five weeks to undergo initial treatment. After her stay at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Jersey, she was far from out of the woods. Blaire recalls that the hardest part of her entire cancer journey was the actual treatment.
“My treatment involved two hour infusions, five days a week over alternating months on top of two weeks on, two weeks off of ingesting nine pills daily.“ she said. Her life now consisted of a daily 7:30 am drive to the hospital, weekly EKG’s and port access to administer medication.
The former Iona College lacrosse player became familiar with HEADstrong at the Nick Colleluori Classic at Hofstra. Nathanson also ran into the Colleluori family at LaxCon in Philadelphia. “Listening to Nick’s story from the Colleluori family was extremely moving and I was so happy that I could be a part of that event.” remarked Blaire.
Blaire’s last treatment was in January of 2020 and unlike other cancer patients who took time off from work, she never stopped. The Marketing Coordinator for T3 Lacrosse and LGS Lacrosse was able to turn her hospital room into an office and continue to work while undergoing treatment.
Working while receiving treatment allowed Blaire to have a sense of normalcy during one of the toughest times in her life. Being surrounded by a supportive group of family and friends also helped her stay positive throughout the process. “From the second day of diagnosis I knew that I had a 90% chance of being cured and of it not returning. This definitely helped knowing that I could get through this. I have incredible family and friends that supported me every step of the way. My husband didn’t leave my side throughout my five-week hospital stay sleeping on the little hospital couch and getting me coffee every morning.” she said.
Get Stylin’ this Spring and sign up for Game Hair Havoc to help support those affected by cancer, just like Blaire. Inspire your teammates to join in on the havoc and show off your crazy game day hair styles. It can make a meaningful impact in those who need it the most. Learn more about Game Hair Havoc by clicking here.