APPLETON (NBC 26) — Robin Hernandez Nagreen, a kindergarten teacher at the Classical School in Appleton, has many reasons to celebrate this summer break.
She plans to mark the end of her 16-year battle with appendix cancer by hiking the Camino de Santiago.
Her journey with cancer began in 2006 when she was diagnosed with appendix cancer.
“My prognosis for five years was not very good. Well, it ended up that I made it seven years without a recurrence,” said Nagreen.
Despite a poor prognosis, she managed to live her life normally for seven years, raising her kids, teaching kindergarten, and hiking with her family. Until the cancer returned, and she had to undergo treatment again.
“After that recurrence, I've been dealing with appendix cancer and hoping it wouldn't grow,” said Nagreen.
After joining a Facebook group, she learned about a miracle surgery in Pittsburgh, which she underwent last summer.
“As of right now, I am NED which is no evidence of disease. I hope the cancer doesn't return. There's always a chance,” said Nagreen.
To celebrate what she hopes is the end of her battle with cancer, she is taking on the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile hike that involves sleeping in hostels and carrying only the essentials, accompanied by her two kids, Alicia and Manny.
“Both my kids are like, Mom, we're going to do this. And that was my carrot to do this. Be strong, get better,” said Nagreen.
Part of the process is laying down her burdens.
“You're supposed to bring something to let go,” said Nagreen.
One thing she always hopes to leave behind is cancer.
To her friend Gwen Bowman, Nagreen is the best example of true grit. Bowman says it's Nagreen's true grit that will propel her on the trail, living every day with a positive outlook.
"I'm excited about her like waking up every morning, and just getting out and doing those steps, you know, and doing them with her most precious people along her side," said Bowman.
Nagreen’s best advice is to not waste time worrying.
“Living every day, trying to have a positive outlook, not trying. trying not to waste time worrying,” said Nagreen.
After years of planning, Nargreen will begin her hike in May.