Former ECU athlete raises lung cancer awareness

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Former ECU soccer player Taylor Duck is a lung cancer survivor.

She was diagnosed while still in college, and she is now working to raise awareness regarding the deadly disease.

“I didn’t know anything about lung cancer. I was the picture of health,” said Duck. “In excellent physical shape, ate well, and did all the right things. You don’t think it will come knocking on your door.”

Taylor Duck’s passion for soccer began when she was a little girl – never imagining her dream of playing in college being crushed by a cancer that she thought only smokers or someone older than twenty one could get.

“I didn’t fit the mold of lung cancer,” said Duck. “I was a never smoking, division I college athlete, never been around second-hand smoke.”

She lived out her dream as an ECU soccer player up until her sophomore year, when her breathing problems got in the way of being the team player she felt she could be.

“I quickly realized that I was struggling physically,” said Duck. “I wasn’t able to pass a fitness test and I had numbness and tingling in my toes.”

Doctors didn’t know what was wrong with her, until one night later in the year.

“I was on fall break and it was late on a Saturday evening and I ended up in the emergency room because I thought my appendix was rupturing,” said Duck. “They did a CT scan on my abdomen which revealed part of my lungs. And on that part of my lung it showed a large mass and a partially collapsed lung.”

This prompted surgery, ending the cancer – but not ending her journey, as she felt compelled to help others by raising awareness. So she partnered with the cancer community on a website called “Your Cancer Game Plan”.

“It focuses on three fundamental pillars – emotional health and well-being, nutrition and health, and the third one is communication,” said Duck. “Having tools to help you not only communicate with your friends and family but your health care team is so imperative.”

Now at 31 years old, Taylor offers her support for those traveling the road she survived 10 years ago.

“I’m there as a voice and spokesperson to really try to bring awareness,” said Duck. “And try to advocate for individuals that have been touched by cancer – to be knowledgeable that that resource is available.”

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