Honorary caregiver: Fighting from a distance


As the first-ever honorary caregiver of Colleges Against Cancer’s Relay for Life, Mikena Albers will share her story of helping her mother fight a battle with Stage-4 non-smokers lung cancer, which started in July 2015.

Honorary caregivers support survivors of cancer and honor those who fought until the end of their battle, just as Albers helped her mother fight through lung cancer until she passed away.

At the time Albers, was attending South Dakota State and her parents lived in Florida, but despite the physical distance that separated them, she and her younger sister traveled down to help their mother through chemotherapy and assist with household duties.

“Being in Brookings made it tough to [not] be there in person to support her through all of her treatments,” Albers said. “[My sister and I were there to] just be a positive presence during such a tough time for our family. The weeks that I was not able to be there, I would FaceTime my parents, and I would text my mom during her chemo treatments to make the time go by faster for her.”

Albers said the chemotherapy and radiation treatments would leave her mother very tired and feeling sick, and she often she would sit with her mother through the treatments for up to six hours at a time. 

Albers’s involvement with Colleges Against Cancer began after her mother passed away when she was searching for a way to help raise awareness on campus. 

“I found Colleges Against Cancer and immediately knew that this club was what I had been looking for,” Albers said. “I’m excited to have everyone’s teams come together on Friday and fundraise to help find a cure for cancer, celebrate with the survivors and especially come together and remember my mom and the others who fought back against cancer.”