Morehouse College student fights cancer with positive outlook on life

Photo: Kenny Greenwood

Most college juniors are usually worried about passing exams, completing class projects, and finding time to party and hangout with classmates. But those concerns became secondary for Morehouse College student Kenneth Greenwood when he received a diagnosis that would change his life.

Greenwood, 20, issues began over a year ago when he noticed changes in his health. “For over a year, I was losing weight and I had a cough,”  Greenwood said during an interview. “We went to a doctor and I was initially diagnosed with asthma. But months later, I woke up and my back was hurting real bad and my stomach began hurting. I decided to go to Emory Hospital when I returned to Atlanta. After several CT scans, it was discovered that I had a mass on my chest and a small mass on both of my kidneys.”

Greenwood was eventually diagnosed with cancer, more specifically, a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The diagnosis forced Greenwood to withdraw from Morehouse College for the semester to receive treatment. After spending a week at Emory, he returned to his hometown Oakland, California and stayed at University of California San Francisco for two weeks where he began undergoing chemo.

But while Greenwood was facing a life-altering issue, he never allowed it to take away his spirit. “When  I received my diagnosis, it offered an explanation for me about things that were happening with my body,” he said. “I’ve never been fearful or worried. I just took it in stride. I can’t say I embraced having cancer, but I didn’t let it stop me from having a good spirit about things.”

Greenwood credits his support from family and friends for helping him to maintain a positive attitude. He has also found solace in rooting for his favorite NBA team, the Golden State Warriors. Greenwood has been a fan of the Warriors since his youth and continues to follow their historic season. During a recent practice, Greenwood got an opportunity to hang out and take pictures with the players and speak with the team’s star, Steph Curry.

“After practice, Steph Curry went through a strenuous shooting drill and I was able to watch,” Greenwood said.“ Once he finished, I introduced myself and he shook my hand. He offered words of advice. He told me to stay strong and that he was praying for me. He also signed his jersey and gave it me.”

Greenwood recently finished eight rounds of chemo two weeks ago and he will have another CT scan to monitor his improvements. His plan is to return to Morehouse College in the fall of 2016.

“One thing that inspired me was Stuart Scott’s speech at the ESPYs,” Greenwood recalls. “He said, ‘You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.’ That is what I keep in mind. You can take that rule and place it in anything in life. Everyone is touched by cancer in some way. For me, I recognize I am that person for a lot of people. What I have learned is that I have to be positive. I want everyone who is showing support to have a positive outlook too. If you do your best to be positive, people will see it and be affected by it. It will make the world a better place.”

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