Ronnie Laughlin – Cancer Survivor
A cancer survivor’s journey often starts with diagnosis but Ronnie Laughlin’s journey started over two decades earlier in Sedalia, NC where she grew up playing basketball for not one Yow, but three! Ronnie’s “claim to fame” is having the pleasure of playing for Kay Yow, Debbie Yow and Susan Yow. An experience she says led to many incredible life lessons.
It is safe to say Ronnie’s path has taken her to many different places. From Sedalia, NC as a teenager, to Raleigh, NC where she earned her undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University, to Louisiana State University where she achieved a master’s degree, to the launch of her professional career as a coach of women’s basketball in three different states, to finally settling in Saudi Arabia to work as a full-time Speech Pathologist.
With every move came new faces to meet, different backgrounds to learn and new routines to form. What made this most challenging was doing it with no friends or family nearby. Little did Ronnie know, that overcoming the challenges that came along with each move would help prepare her for what would come next.
In 2020, while helping students in Saudi Arabia find their voices, at the height of the pandemic, Ronnie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Compounding the layer of fear of the unknown that came along with hearing those dreaded words, “You have cancer,” Ronnie also had to face the many obstacles that came with the strict pandemic lockdown in Saudi Arabia at that time.
Life lessons and overcoming challenges kick in. Ronnie was on her own, thousands of miles from family and friends about to take on cancer! Determined to be as prepared as possible to advocate for herself and understand the critical information she would need to navigate the road ahead, Ronnie immediately began researching and seeking information. She drove herself to doctors’ appointments and treatments, while also keeping up with her students.
After undergoing a treatment plan of four rounds of chemo, a lumpectomy and 15 rounds of radiation – Ronnie was cancer-free.
Today, Ronnie is focused on using her own experience to help other women, through a journal she wrote during her journey. Her book will be released soon, and you can find more info here. Ten percent of all book sales will be donated to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
In closing, one of the things Ronnie would like to pass on to women and families of those battling cancer is to stay positive. She said, “You know there is going to be an end to your cancer journey, you just don’t know when it will be. You’ve got to keep going, one foot in front of the other, and before you know it, you’re at the end of the journey.”
Staying positive is what kept Ronnie going during very difficult times. During those times she reflected on the words of Coach Yow, “When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.”