Dressed in track pants and a t-shirt with a smile across her face, fellow college students would not recognize Alex Webb, freshman biology major from Atkins, as a cancer survivor.
Alex has achieved many goals in her 18 years of life, such as being a three-time all-state softball player during high school or being on the Dean’s List her first semester in college. She is now at the end of her freshman year at Arkansas Tech University, a year that was once considered improbable almost 15 years ago.
When Alex was almost 3-years-old her family noticed something wasn’t right with the way their daughter was acting, tiring easily and sleeping through loud football games. This led them to seek professional help and on Jan. 07, 2000, after running various blood tests, it was discovered that she had acute lymphocytic leukemia. Though Alex doesn’t remember much of the diagnosis, her parents will never forget.
“In my gut feeling, I knew something was wrong,” Stacey Webb, Alex’s mother, said in a previous interview. “But I never expected cancer. It was a total shock.”
The odds were in her favor though; Alex’s cancer was detected early enough that it was in her bone marrow, but not her blood stream. This gave Alex an 80 percent chance to live.
“In her early years and during her battle with cancer, Stacey and I always tried to stay positive and look at situations from the best possible scenarios,” Darrell Webb, Alex’s father, said. “It was hard at times being at Children’s Hospital around really sick children. Especially around the ones that didn’t make it.”
After two years of chemotherapy and a five-year treatment plan Alex’s cancer was in remission. Alex has been cancer free ever since and from her experience was inspired to become a radiologist technician.
“I grew up with people helping me,” Alex said. “One day I hope to do that for people.”
To accomplish her goal, Alex took 17 hours last semester and is currently taking 16 hours this semester. Though school takes up much of her time, she still finds time to engage in sports activities through the intramurals offered on campus, such as flag football and 3-on- 3 basketball. Alex chose not to play sports at the college so she could “focus more on academics.”
Easing the struggle of balancing a full load and family time, Alex chose to live at home while she goes to college. Her younger sister plays sports, and with basketball season coming up, Alex can attend the games more easily.
“I love my family and my mom’s cooking, and she cooks about every night,” Alex said. “It’s a plus.”
Family is very important to Alex and after a scare three years ago with a case of mononucleosis, which can mimic the signs of leukemia, having a good support system to help her through has made all the difference.
“At some point years after Alex had won the so called “battle”, it hits you,” Mr. Webb said of his daughter being in college. “You don’t plan on it, but while she is participating in an event you realize after all she has been through ‘here she is.’ She made it. It’s really emotional. We never stopped believing in her and when someone is believing in you and you believe in yourself, you can accomplish a lot of things.”