Anchorage woman beats cancer with help of her four-legged friends

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Karen Hill is a breast cancer survivor, and she didn’t do it alone. She had the help of her four-legged friends.

62-year-old Hill was diagnosed in October 2017, and her immediate thought went to how she was going to continue doing what she was passionate about.

“My first thought was ‘no, I need to continue to do my dog agility?’” Hill said. “This was just a heck of an inconvenience for me.”

She said that wasn’t going to stop doing what she loved, and told her doctor she wanted to continue the agility training. Her doctor agreed that continuing, and being active with her dogs was a great idea.

“Staying active, staying positive, having goals, and having something to strive for,” Hill said, stressing the importance of these things during her cancer battle. “So we actually scheduled my chemotherapy, so that when I would be feeling the best, would be when I had an (agility) trial coming up.”

Hill had three treatments of chemotherapy, four weeks apart. She said it worked out that the day before she had a treatment, was the day she had the agility trials.

“The doctors felt that it played a major part in how well i did through the treatment, how good I felt, and how my energy level didn’t get as low as chemo and radiation can do to you,” she said.

Hill said she had friends and family who played a huge part in her treatment and recovery, but says her dogs also played a huge part in that as well.

Today, Hill is feeling great. She’s involved in a clinical trial called the Breast Cancer Weight Study (BWEL), which is helping her increase her activity levels and create a healthier lifestyle. The study looks to see whether a weight lost program should be a part of the actual cancer therapy.

With multiple different families members having faced cancer before her, Hill said she had been on the sidelines of this disease many, many times. She says the support she sees through the hospital, events like the Run for Women, and through support groups is incredible.

“It’s made my attitude and focus on life so very, very different. I’ve taken that positivity and that support that I’ve been given, and I’m giving it forward now,” Hill said about her experience. “It’s given me a whole new lease on life.”

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