UHV student fought cancer to attend school

Sherri Eggleston

University of Houston-Victoria graduate student Sherri Eggleston wasn’t going to let anything stop her from getting her master’s degree in counseling – not even breast cancer.

In 2006, Eggleston was diagnosed with breast cancer just as she was preparing to enroll in her first semester at UHV. Six months of chemotherapy, four months of radiation and multiple surgeries forced her to postpone classes, but by the fall of 2007, she was realizing her dream.

“I’ve had five surgeries because they found another mass in 2008, and I had complications and infections,” she said. “It’s been a roller coaster ride every time they say they’ve found something that looks suspicious, but my friends and family have helped me, and it’s made me stronger. It changed my priorities, my values and made me live more in the moment. It’s made me realize I can make a difference in other people’s lives.”

Eggleston, a Victoria resident, was drawn to helping people long before her diagnosis. For 11 years, she has been a teacher, spending the last six years making sure homebound students in Calhoun County don’t miss out on an education. She said she can still remember her first student, a high school senior who was hospitalized after a car accident. Eggleston made sure the young woman graduated on time.

“I like that one-on-one relationship,” she said. “I like it so much I felt I could do even more as a special education counselor. I have a soft place in my heart for people with learning disabilities. I think I know how to talk to them, and I understand they have different learning styles than the average student. That’s why I wanted to go back to school for my master’s.”

With the support of her family and friends, Eggleston will graduate in the fall of 2010. She is a member of Chi Sigma Iota, a counseling honors society at UHV, and Phi Kappa Phi, a national honors society. She has three daughters, ages 36, 25 and 23.

It has been three years since her diagnosis, takes medication every day. But she’s healthy and looking forward to a very important anniversary.

“If five years pass without a recurrence of cancer, the likelihood of getting cancer again within the next five to 10 years decreases,” Eggleston said. “So I’ve only got two years to go.”

The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact UHV Communications Manager Paula Cobler  or call 361-570-4350.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.