Decorated Figure Skater. Cancer Survivor. Future Doctor.
“You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is your only option.”
Defeating the odds is more than just a saying. For Amanda Kauffman, it was a life achievement.
Born into a family of skaters, Amanda was destined for the ice. Skating was her purpose in life, where she felt invincible. “The rink was my happy place.”
But, after a diagnosis of Stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma, everything Amanda was sure of came into question. “It hit me like a brick wall. I was the picture of health. How could cancer happen to me?” At the time, Amanda was a member of the junior national synchronized skating team where she represented Canada competing internationally. This included over 20 hours of training per week on top of juggling a duel curriculum as a student of TanenbaumCHAT.
Suddenly, everything Amanda had trained for her whole life was stripped away from her. As time went on, she watched her team practice and her friends experience senior year of high school from a hospital bed.
Amanda, however, was determined to stay focused on her goal. “The light at the end of the tunnel was skating. Ever doctor thought I was crazy, but I told everyone that I would be competing with my team in Croatia in the world championships that March.”
Rebuilding her body’s strength, coordination and flexibility, Amanda worked from square one in determination to reach her goal. “In January of 2018, I couldn’t stand up on my own or even take three steps without collapsing. But, two months later, I was in Croatia.”
In Croatia, Amanda skated with her team to a song dedicated to her, and all of her teammates wore a green lymphoma ribbon on the back of their dresses. Performing a choreographed piece in her honour and wearing that dress at the world championships, Amanda knew she had achieved the impossible.
Now, Amanda triumphantly states that her skating is at a better level than where it was pre diagnosis. “When you lose something, you appreciate it more. It made me work on my sport and my art even harder.”
Amanda’s fierce passion for skating let her rise above the seemingly insurmountable challenges she faced. “With sheer determination and a strong support system, you really can do anything. You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is your only option.”
“Ultimately, it seems like an oxymoron to use lucky and cancer in the same sentence. But I am the lucky one to be here to tell the story, and I am a survivor.”
RANDOM RAPID FIRE WITH AMANDA
1. Opportunity? Take it or Make it.
2. Night Owl or Early Bird?
3. Classical or Jazz?
4. Solo or team player?
5. Bad habit? Nail Biter!
Amanda Kauffman lives in Toronto, and will begin her undergraduate degree at Queen’s University in the hopes of becoming a doctor. She has been skating since she was two, and competed on Team Canada on the Junior National team in the world championships three times. She defied the odds by beating her diagnosis of Stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Now, she is a speaker for the Israel Cancer Research Fund, and volunteers for Chai Lifeline, an organization that helped her through her own treatment.
Check out Amanda’s AMAZING Synchronized Skating Team, Nexxice, HERE