The Hub Grad overcomes cancer while earning English degree, raising family

Grad overcomes cancer while earning English degree, raising family

By: Shannon Gingras (Bachelor of Arts, Major in English ’23)

Transforming Lives: Learners of AU is an ongoing series where real students and alumni share how flexible online learning at Athabasca University made a difference in their lives and communities. Submit your story.

When I was raising 2 children on my own, and struggling to recover from cancer at only 36, I knew that I had to do something to provide a better life for my children.

I decided to upgrade my education and finally get a degree. Because Athabasca University (AU) offers flexible, online courses, I was able to register for my Bachelor of Arts, English Major—and recently finished my studies at the end of 2022.

The ease of working at my own pace allowed me to finish my radiation treatments, heal from surgeries, and still get my coursework done on time! With AU’s support, I was able to bring my classes with me on weekends away with the kids. I could work after they went to bed while still getting to enjoy the fun stuff!

I am so grateful that I was able to take these courses from the comfort of my home. Without that opportunity, getting my degree would never have been an option for me. Now, thanks to this opportunity, I am continuing my education and going to become a teacher!

I love being able to show my kids that I am resilient and strong and still have so much to learn in life. With a new career, I can support them in their dreams as well as my own.

Not only have I been able to reach this goal for myself, I have finally been given a clean bill of health and am a cancer survivor! I might have to get something framed so I can put it on my wall beside my degree from Athabasca University!

Celebrating Convocation 2023!

Read more stories about AU students and grads as part of our Convocation 2023 coverage. You can also check out our series Transforming Lives: Learners of AU.

Shannon Gingras (Bachelor of Arts, Major in English ’23) graduated from Athabasca University while raising a family and undergoing treatment for cancer. She is currently studying at the University of Calgary with a goal of becoming a teacher. She lives in the Rocky Mountains of southern Alberta with her 2 children.

  • June 1, 2023
Guest Blog from:
Shannon Gingras (Bachelor of Arts, Major in English ’23)