A Middleburg Heights educator facing cancer for the second time isn't letting the disease get her down. She's still living her dream — teaching students and making a difference.
In 2013, at age 35, Christine Vodicka was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy and thought she was cancer free. Two years later, doctors found the cancer had returned — and spread. She was rediagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.
“After my second diagnosis, I realized that life too short and I have too much to share. I have too much passion to share,” Vodicka said.
She isn't let the disease defeat her or stop her from achieving her dreams.
“So when people ask me how I’m doing, I say, ‘I’m living the dream.’ And sometimes they can’t believe it because they’re like, ‘well you have cancer, how can you be living the dream?’ but I see it as a blessing,” she said.
Vodicka thinks back to her time at Kent State University in 1995 when she was a first-generation college student.
“I lacked study skills, I didn’t take notes properly, I didn’t even go to class,” Vodicka said. “I was doing everything wrong that a person could possibly do going into college.”
Times have changed and for Vodicka, and the credit lies with one person who helped change her path — a tutor at Kent named Robin.
“I don’t know what happened, it’s just that she unlocked some love of learning in me,” Vodicka said. “I learned I could do it and now I have all this passion for it and I want to share it with other people.”
She’s sharing that passion through her very own tutoring center, College Colleagues in Middleburg Heights.
She’s sharing it because she wants the time she has left to be worthwhile.
Vodicka offers free tutoring to all students every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. at College Colleagues, 6887 Smith Rd, Middleburg Heights.