From Soccer to Physician

Among the hardest parts, Addy Guida remembered, was lying in her bed at St. Rose Dominican Hospital-San Martin and having previous colleagues come by throughout their rounds. Simple weeks prior to, she ‘d been one of them, an appealing medical school candidate getting experience as a physician’s documents assistant. Now she was a patient enduring a serious health problem– again– and having to address their shocked question: “Oh, my God, Addy, exactly what are you doing here?”

Guida, 23, made it through those frightening days last fall. And on July 17, though still weak and sick from her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she joined the 59 other members of the inaugural class at the new UNLV School of Medication. She’s concentrating on emergency medicine in part because the high energy, team unity, and fast pace reminds her of her days as a star midfielder for the Rebel ladies’s soccer team.

“I was born and raised here in Vegas, and when I was maturing, people were constantly talking about how there was going to be a med school in Vegas, but it always appeared like a pipe dream,” she said.

A couple months into her med school studies, she said she was “rebounding.” Similar to she’s done in the past. In January 2013, during her freshman year, Guida came down with exactly what she thought was mononucleosis. Weak, tired out– whatever it was just would not disappear. Doctors told her she was at risk for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes.

“It was terrifying,” she said. “I was 19 years old, a college soccer gamer. I had actually never ever pondered having a deadly health problem. I believed my world was turning upside down.”

The remainder of the semester, she was mainly confined to her space in the Tonopah dormitory where she did her classwork too and typically as she could. As the months passed, she improved and believed, “OK, I’m over it. I’m prepared to start my life now.”

She changed her significant to pre-med and plunged back into her studies, and soccer over the next three years. Through the athletic department and pre-med honor society, she offered in youth programs and assisted run summertime camps. As she neared her December 2016 graduation, Guida was working as a scribe at 3 Las Vegas-area health centers. At work in the emergency situation department one day, she felt chest discomforts and had trouble breathing.

Guida’s stepmother, her primary care company, found the source: a tumor in her chest roughly the shapes and size of a little book.

The illness she ‘d feared the most three years previously, the disease she thought had astonishingly bypassed her, was now her truth. “My initial idea, specifically considering that I was right in the middle of the med school application procedure, was, ‘How is this going to affect my career objectives?'” she stated. “My other concern was, ‘OK, so I’m not going to be a typical 22-year-old any longer. I’m going to have to handle this for the rest of my life.'”

Doctors informed her that she ‘d have to endure six months of hellish chemo and radiation but, disallowing something unpredicted, she was probably going to make a full recovery. “However it does not matter what the medical professional states at that point,” she stated. “You hear ‘cancer’ and do not really hear anything after that.”

Guida handled to graduate, regardless of missing 3 weeks of classes after her diagnosis. For months, life was a treadmill of treatment, sleep, and throwing up. The first scan to reveal her cancer remained in remission came on March 8. She’ll have to get a scan every 3 months for the next year, then one every five years. Now, she’s relishing her life and nascent career in medicine, and her pride at belonging to the inaugural class.

All 60 UNLV School of Medicine students received complete scholarships, thanks to the Engelstad Family Structure and a number of individual donors. Guida’s originated from the Alumni Association, which brings unique meaning for her, originating from a household of Rebels.

Mom, Angela Branco, ’86 BS Accounting, ’05 Master of Education, co-owns SWF Building in Henderson.
Stepfather, Anthony Branco, ’03 Master of Music, is a pianist and music instructor.
Older sibling, Adrianna Guida, ’12 BS Hotel Administration, likewise played soccer for the Rebels and is now a first-year trainee at the William S. Boyd School of Law.

When Guida got her very first degree in the middle of her lymphoma treatment, her mother attached her own alumni pin to her child’s lapel. Guida keeps it attached to her medical school white coat.

“When I was awarded the scholarship, despite the fact that I didn’t personally understand any of these (donors), it was like getting a contribution from household– like these individuals remain in my corner.”

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