Lehigh Valley

Lower Macungie cancer survivor raises money for research with annual event

LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. - Lehigh County resident Megan DePalma's life was drastically changed three years ago at age 23 when she was diagnosed with sarcoma, a very rare soft tissue cancer.

"I just moved into a new apartment with my boyfriend who is now my husband. He was playing in the NFL at the time so we were living this sort of glamorous lifestyle. And it just cut us right to the bone. At 23 you have cancer," she said.

Initially DePalma was told by doctors she'd have to have most of her leg amputated, but she said that wasn't an option for her.

She went for a second opinion from the University of Pennsylvania. There she endured a 15-hour surgery, several rounds of radiation and months of physical therapy.

"I am now just a little over three years cancer-free," she said.

DePalma said she's cancer-free because of her medical team at Penn. Now she pays it forward with the annual Steps to Cure Sarcoma walk and run event.

"You never want to be part of the cancer club but it's incredible to be with these people who have literally fought for their lives," she said.

This year's race is on June 11. Money raised will go toward sarcoma cancer research.

As for DePalma, she's made some huge strides this year too.

"I bought my first pair of heels a couple weeks ago. It was so rewarding to wear them, as silly as that sounds. When you think you're never going to walk again that you spend a whole night out and it was pretty awesome," she said.

For more information on the Steps to Cure Sarcoma walk and run, visit www.stepstocuresarcoma.com.

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