“Power to Preserve:" Marist Alum Alexia Cucchiara's Book on Fighting Cancer
It’s August of 2017 and students from everywhere are looking forward to getting back to school. Syllabus week is widely regarded as one of the most fun weeks of the year — reuniting with friends, going out and having fun. For former Marist student, Alexa Cucchiara, this was not the case.
Her syllabus week was about to take a sharp turn. What was supposed to be an exciting first week became a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.
Cucchiara lived a healthy lifestyle — she exercised every day and her diet consisted of fresh, organic food. After the diagnosis, she had to drop out of school to fight for her life. On Sept. 26, 2017, six days after her 20th birthday, she began her first chemotherapy treatment which lasted until January 2018.
While many look at this process as unfortunate and heartbreaking, Cucchiara saw it through a positive lens. “I knew that I had to go through it for a reason,'' she said.
A native New Yorker, Alexa attended Marist College and studied business administration as well as product development, fashion merchandising and graphic design. She has since transferred to Fordham University to finish her degree and be closer to home. She is studying business in the Gabelli School of Business and will finish her undergraduate degree in 2020.
Finding a higher purpose through her faith helped her to get through treatment. Through the duration of her treatment, she would look up scriptures and videos online as well as reading self-help books, she said.
For Cucchiara, it was faith in God that helped the most.
There was one moment that Alexa cited as a big motivator. “Before my diagnosis, I had gone to heaven in my dream and I met Jesus. He told me ‘Do not worry; everything is going to be okay.' When I was diagnosed, I remembered this and kept reminding myself that everything at the end was going to be fine. I had to place my trust in a higher force. Having faith is what got me through all of my surgeries and treatments.”
Her experience and positive perspective inspired her to share her story with a wider audience. She decided to write a book, “Power to Preserve.” The book is currently in the final stages of editing and is available for pre-order.
She ultimately wanted to write a book that “she wished she had to read” when she was undergoing treatment. She shares both her story and stories from other people who have come from all walks of life: limb loss, terminal cancer, drug addiction and depression to name a few.
“The stories are meant to help inspire others create a different perspective on the battle that they are facing,” she said. “I took the time to digest and study the mindset of the individuals I interviewed for each chapter and wrote about how they persevered. Each chapter consists of short stories, research, takeaways and a set of questions my readers are encouraged to ask themselves.”
With “Power to Preserve,” Cucchiara gives her readers a different perspective on how to handle any battle, whether it is as simple as choosing what to study in school or how to handle something so life changing like cancer.
Alexa gives advice on how to persevere through any battle by changing your mentality through acceptance, becoming more vulnerable and engaging in creativity and art, scripting, faith and nutrition.
“I second guessed myself. I was afraid to put my whole story out there, but then I thought that if I were to die tomorrow, I would have missed the opportunity to help save someone. This is what helped me keep pushing through.”
The book will be published in December of 2019.
Through positive outlook, Alexa persevered through the toughest fight of her life.
“Whatever you’re going through at this moment will not be your forever,” Alexa said, “Know that there is so much hope, light and love in the world. What might seem like your greatest struggle is where you will find your strengths. Your battle is meant to give you the opportunity to dig deep and transform yourself into the best human being that you were set here on Earth to be. Your life has a purpose. Just trust in the process.”