YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- A Yorktown Heights student who battled cancer recently received her college diploma.
Diana Pernicano was one of 618 students who received their diplomas at the Mount Saint Mary College Commencement in Newburgh on Saturday almost four years after she was diagnosed with cancer.
Pernicano found a lump in her neck during a hands-on lesson in a nursing class that she credits with saving her life. She began treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma and is now cancer free.
“They say it takes a village, and it took the help of a lot of people to get me well enough to continue at the Mount,” Pernicano said. “Thanks to everyone who gave me a hand.”
When she returned to school after treatment, Pernicano did so with a renewed sense of purpose. In addition to resuming her studies, she held leadership positions in the Mount’s Colleges Against Cancer club and co-chaired the school'ss 2015 Relay for Life, which raised $35,000. Of that total, she raised more than $2,000 on her own.
Pernicano was given the Sigma Theta Lau Leadership Award the day before she graduated.
"That award was really for everybody fighting cancer," Pernicano said. "Not just me.”