2021 Lurie Cancer Center Cancer Survivors' Celebration & Walk

All Against A.L.L!

Wishing well to cancer survivor, Mrs. Elizabeth Houchins, my Spanish III teacher. Thank you for sharing your story.

Other than being a mother, Spanish teacher, and runner, another title of Mrs. Houchins is “cancer survivor”. Mrs. Houchins was diagnosed at the age of two with Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Back then there were about 10% of patients who went straight into remission like Mrs. Houchins, while 90% either passed away or had a recurrence. As of 2019, that low 10% is up to nearly 90% of children with ALL, who are cured 10 years after remission. That gain is contributed to cancer research, and Mrs. Houchins fortunately beat the statistics.

While on chemotherapy for seven years, everything was uncharted territory and doctors kept testing chemicals on Mrs. Houchins for years. Now chemotherapy lasts for only a fraction of that time thanks to cancer research.

Two miracles happened after my Spanish teacher’s remission. The first is that every experimental drug was approved and is now used regularly. The second is that none of the terrible effects of chemotherapy happened. In fact, unbelievably, on February 18, 2000, Mrs. Houchins gave birth to Christian Houchins Lunsford, a healthy baby boy.

A note from Mrs. Houchins: Being called inspirational and somebody's hero was the turning point for me, and being a cancer survivor kept coming back to mind. When I was younger, I didn’t want people to know I had cancer. I was afraid I would be treated differently. There weren’t a lot of survivors back then. I didn’t feel like I needed to talk about it. Now I am proud of my status. Just the fact that I beat cancer has given optimism to others.
A note from the team founder: Mrs. Houchins was my Spanish III teacher for my sophomore year in high school. Her teaching methods have helped me greatly improve my Spanish writing, listening, and speaking skills. Studying a new culture helps cultivate an open-mind, an integral development which Mrs. Houchins has greatly nurtured in me and many other students. I hope that we can all, as a community, help support cancer research and advocate for more health awareness so there can be more cancer survivors like Mrs. Houchins throughout the world.

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