Ogemaw Co. Woman Fights, Beats Cancer After Years Of Treatment

“I just never gave up and I think that’s what saved me.”

The best news a teenager could hear after a long battle with cancer: she’s now cancer-free.

We first brought you Kaylee Karbginsky’s story last year in Ogemaw County.

She was a high school senior, battling stage-four lymphoma.

Kaylee found out last weekend that she beat it.

“It’s absolutely about mindset,” Kaylee says. “From the very get-go, I was like, alright, what’s next?”

For Kaylee Karbginsky, giving up was never an option.

“I just had a feeling that I was going to get through it,” Kaylee says. “You know, when you have a feeling, you have a feeling.”

“The thought never crossed her mind that she was ever going to die,” says Alecia Karbginsky, Kaylee’s mother. “It was okay, what do we got to do?”

She wasn’t the only one battling cancer in her family.

Unfortunately, her grandmother lost her battle a few months ago.

“It was pretty tough,” Kaylee says. “I felt excluded from everybody. I couldn’t go out in public.”

On September 14th, there was just one more appointment for Kaylee.

“They made us wait a whole 24 hours to get the results of that, but when they came back, they said there was no sign of disease anywhere,” Alecia says.

“I could breathe,” Kaylee says. “I felt like there was a lift off my shoulders and it was exciting.  I just feel like I can move forward finally instead of worrying about whether or not I’m going to get sick again.”

The good news spread quickly through the community that had stepped up to support her.

“I saw this maybe two or three days ago that Kaylee was cancer-free and I just wanted to erupt,” says Ogemaw County Sheriff Howie Hanft.

Sheriff Hanft has been by her side since the diagnosis, starting fundraisers to help.

“It’s so exciting and good because they suffer so much. We don’t see,” Hanft says. “We have no idea what they go through as far as mentally, physically and financially. To see that she’s cancer-free, she’s still got a lot of work to do, but amazing. It couldn’t be any better.”

Looking ahead to her future, Kaylee plans on studying psychology after recovering fully from the struggle — and victory — of a lifetime.

“With cancer, it kind of made realize the importance that life is and you only get one chance, you know?” Kaylee says. “Just don’t take it for granted.”

To check out the original story from last year, take a look at the 2016 report.