Kira’s Keys to a Happy Life

In the Midst of Cancer, Sophomore Offers Ways to Stay Positive


Courtesy of Kira Niedert

Paddling in a kayak, sophomore Kira Niedert stays positive. She had just come to terms with having cancer. “I had finally accepted my cancer and started to become more happy,” Niedert said.

Deana Trautz, Reporter

Up until the end of freshmen year, Kira Niedert lived the typical life. She went to church, lived with her mom and never struggled too much in school. However for the past few, Niedert lived with a mystery disease, causing her to throw up on a daily basis and was eventually diagnosed with a heart issue. Last year on May 31, her doctors gave her the news that she had neuroendocrine cancer. Niedert says that in the confusion of this time, she and her mom felt more relief than sadness. This could come as a shock, considering that the word cancer is often seen synonymously with death, however she has never seen it that way.

Many doctors could not diagnose her symptoms for about three years, so when Niedert was given a solid reason for her medical struggle, she could finally have the chance to move forward. She says that the thought of death did not often come as a worry to her.

“I was never at that stage where I thought I did not have that long to live,” Niedert said.

Throughout Niedert’s journey, she has made sure to stay positive in a number of ways in which she thinks everyone could benefit from.

Courtesy of Kira Niedert
Eating dinner with her mom on August 13, sophomore Kira Niedert’s only objective is to see the good things in her life. She says that acting too serious about everything just isn’t the way to go. “Everyone should go out and get a picnic table for their front yards,” Niedert said. “Then they can eat dinner, jam to some music and be silly in front of all their neighbors.”


Take your struggle as a learning experience

After being diagnosed, Niedert was eager to find answers to all of her questions. She even took the opportunity to turn it into a learning experience.

“I’m a huge biology nerd, so I find this very fascinating,” Niedert said.

Over the past six months, she has learned about how her organs, hormones and enzymes are affected by the cancer.

This is true for someone with depression, is in a bad relationship or even fails a test. Sure, these things are upsetting, but they have the capability of teaching you empathy as well as learning from your mistakes. Being depressed could help you understand how to help someone else who is having a rough time, and failing your test may teach you to change your habits. All you have to do is take a step back.


Know this isn’t the worst

Often people say things like “meanwhile in Africa” to say that there will always be someone with worse problems. Niedert, whose cancer is much more slow growing than most cancers, says she even feels out of place in cancer support groups because she sees others going through much worse forms of cancer. Though her mom often reminds her that her struggles are valid and denying her condition could be damaging, it helps Niedert to focus on the fact that what she has is sufficient.


Talk about it

Anyone who has been around teenagers will know that self-deprecation is often the subject manner of their humor. Niedert says she believes that saying those things (joking about suicide, depression, a lack of confidence) is because people feel confused as to how they should express those negative feelings in a healthy way. She wishes that more people would know that communicating in a serious way how they are feeling, is vital to healing. Niedert says that no one should hold in sad feelings.

“If you have these feelings, even just for a moment, talk about it,” Niedert said. “It is okay to talk to people, it can help make you better.”


Take care of your body

She has two arms, two legs and that’s all she needs. Niedert sees herself as lucky to be able to do what she can, even though there are things that she cannot do. She says that people will sometimes even suggest that because she seemingly has an unhealthy body, she might as well get into drugs or alcohol. However she says that we must respect our bodies, no matter their health state.

“I am at a disadvantage right now, so if you have a healthy body, don’t do drugs, don’t drink, don’t waste it,” Neidert said. “My body is never going to be 100% healthy, but I still strive to make it the best it can be.”

Niedert is aware of what she eats and gives her body to make sure she is taking care of it. Drink water, don’t eat junk and respect your body because you only get one.


Realize this is your challenge and you need it in order grow

Being a person of faith, she had often been confused why God gave her this to deal with. She questioned what she did to deserve it and went to her pastor in confusion. He told her that everyone gets a challenge and this simply was the one she got. She held that close and reminded herself that God gives you only what you can handle, helping her understand that she does have the strength and capability of overcoming anything in her path.


Look forward to something

Whether it is saying that tomorrow will be a better day or making plans with friends to go out to eat, having something to keep your eye on is crucial. Niedert wishes to use her experiences to teach people to grow in their faith and as people.“I’ve always been the type of person who has wanted to really make something of my life,” Niedert said. “If I am able to overcome this, then that is just one step closer to me being able to beat something else in the world.”



Everyone, including Niedert, has those days when they are not up to doing much at all. When this happens, binge watching your favorite show could be the answer.

“Whenever I don’t feel good, me and my mom will always watch ‘Criminal Minds’ or just binge watch TV,” Niedert said.


Keep Your Friends Close

If you’re having a bad day, it is always good to have a friend there to comfort you. Niedert says that the best thing about her friends is that they don’t question her all the time asking if she is okay. Luckily for Niedert, she has a good group of at least five friends that she can go to who don’t care if she shows up with no makeup.

In the end, it is our attitudes that make the difference, not what we are given to deal with. Though cancer has been an obstacle in Niedert’s life, she is not sad that it is her challenge.

“I’m glad I have it because it has honestly changed my life,” Niedert said. “It has made me nicer and think about people differently.”