By Zach Connor, ESP Media
Loveland, Ohio – Being a competitive cheer coach is hard work. Being an occupational therapist for special needs children is tough. Fighting cancer takes toughness. Doing all three at the same time? Seemingly impossible, yet at Loveland High School, it’s exactly what Varsity Cheerleading Coach Emily Christman has been doing for the past year.
Emily is a Xavier University grad where she cheered for the Muskies basketball team while working on her Master’s degree for Occupational Therapy. She made her way to Loveland in 2015 filling in for a cheerleading coach on maternity leave, parlaying into full time coaching status by 2017. Everything was moving along as planned until October of 2019 when Christman’s life would be forever changed.
A trip to the doctor and multiple scans and tests would reveal that Emily Christman had cancer in the breast and lymph nodes. “The entire month of October was just a whirlwind…and by November I was starting chemo.” Christman would require treatments every three weeks, receiving six of them in total.
“I feel very fortunate because I didn’t really have some of the heavy hitting side effects that some people can get.” As if the pandemic wasn’t enough to deal with, fast-forward to March of 2020 when Emily would need a double mastectomy. The next few months would see more radiation treatments through the month of May, and even now Emily still has to go in for a treatment once every three weeks, which will last until January.
This story is re-published with the permission of the Loveland High School Athletic Department where it was first published.
Never allowing herself to get down about it all she is quick to point out that even these current treatments are not nearly as taxing as they might seem. “Again, all things considered, it really was probably the best of the worst situation.”
While one might think a cancer diagnosis would slow someone down, it seemed to have the opposite effect on Emily as she was just recently married in August, so for those of you keeping track, that would be two full time jobs, fighting off cancer, and planning/getting married all happening simultaneously.
Her diagnosis hasn’t slowed down the ability to get the best out of Loveland Tigers competitive cheer squad either: 2018 saw the team place 3rd in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference (ECC), and 2019 had them climb up to 2nd place. “There’s only one spot left to climb and we definitely have the girls to do it…it’s just an awesome group that we have.”
Emily could not have had a better attitude when I spoke with her about everything she’s been through and she is truly a success story and someone Loveland Athletic Director Brian Conatser is happy to have. As for the secret behind making the oftentimes chaotic schedule work and the long car rides between jobs? Emily kept it simple, “that’s what podcasts and E-books are for.”