Few survivors wind up chatting with Sting when they return to work after cancer treatment, but for Amanda Salas, FOX 11 LA’s entertainment reporter, it’s part of the job.
Salas, 34, announced her stage 2 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis in July. Since then, she’s inspired friends and supporters on social media with her hashtag, @latinaonthemedicina, and her goal to “pay it forward” with her cancer journey.
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Hey @iamrobschneider! I had my first sit-down with @theofficialsting and asked him if people still do the @nbcsnl office nicknames sketch when they see him! “Sting a ling ding ding” ???? He was a great sport about it! This portion airs Friday (tomorrow) on GDLA! ☀️ ???? #FOXanne P.S.: Hearing him say “that was fun” after our 10 minute interview gave me ???? on m’first day back. ❤️
“While I was in the hospital laying in bed,” Salas explained in another Instagram post, “one form of inspiration for me was going on social media, and searching hashtags from others experiencing the same ‘thing’ I was. They were brave. They were beautiful. They believed. I hope to one day be that small dose of comfort for somebody else … the same way they gave me hope.”
‘I Will Help Somebody Else Going Through This’
In an emotional on-air interview with her co-anchors at FOX 11 LA, Salas said, “I made a promise to God: if you give me a second chance at life, I promise I will pay it forward. I will help somebody else going through this.”
The interview left both of her colleagues fighting back tears.
The promise, Salas said, changed her focus during treatment. “You’re not just beating [cancer] for yourself. … You’re doing it for someone else and that’s bigger than yourself. And that’s something I never felt before.”
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A Ball Gown and Tiara for Chemo on Emmy Night
Salas, who is fond of puns, made light of missing the Emmy Awards while having chemotherapy, joking about LymFOMO on Instagram. Instead, she dressed in an evening gown and tiara, dragging her chemo pole through the hospital hallway.
“It’s Emmy Sunday,” she posted on Instagram, in the upbeat style that’s earned the admiration of her Los Angeles viewers, “But it’s ChEMMY-Sunday for me on my fifth round of chemo…sorry I can’t join you for the 71st Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards….I’m sending you lots of love and kisses from the City of Hope.”
In the U.S., about 74,000 cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are diagnosed each year, accounting for about 4.2% of cancer cases, according to the National Cancer Institute. Patients who are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma have about a 72% chance of surviving for five years after the diagnosis.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is actually a collection of different lymphoma diseases, according to Dr. Catherine Diefenbach, at NYU Langone Health. “Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is not one disease, it’s many diseases,” she says. “And there are over 68 kinds of lymphoma. For this reason, it’s very important that if you have a diagnosis of lymphoma, you’re treated by a lymphoma specialist.”