25-year-old nurse practitioner graduate student Kelcey Buntain has only missed one day of class since last fall. Almost perfect attendance might be expected of graduate students, but it’s an exceptional feat considering that Buntain was diagnosed with breast cancer last October and has endured extensive treatments and surgery since then. “I think she is a brave, courageous and determined student,” says School of Nursing faculty member Andrea Zimmerman.
Buntain’s mother nominated her to walk as part of the Survivor’s Parade, a procession of survivors of breast and ovarian cancer, which takes place before the annual Oaks Race at Churchill Downs the Friday before Derby.
Buntain has completed four months of chemotherapy and a bilateral mastectomy earlier this month but, according to her professors, returned to class during her recovery despite “significant discomfort,” says Zimmerman. Adds nursing faculty member Missy Hawes, “Her perseverance to complete the Family Nurse Practitioner program is inspiring to all students no matter what his or her struggles have been,” says
Says Buntain of her journey: “I want to get my story out there to hopefully help other young women going through this.”