Friday Frontline: A 22-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Prepares to Bike Across the Country, Actress Helen McCrory Dies From Cancer, And More

April 23, 2021
Jamie Cesanek

From a college student who survived lymphoma biking 4,000 miles for charity to the death of “Harry Potter” actress Helen McCrory, here’s what’s happening in the cancer landscape this week.

A 22-year-old cancer survivor is preparing for a cross-country bike ride to raise money for young people with cancer.

Catherine Nester, a junior at Elon University, was diagnosed with lymphoma at age 16. She underwent treatment for the next three years and is now recovering from nerve damage to her legs and ankles.

After years of rehabilitation, Nester is tackling the challenge of a 4,000-mile bike ride. She will begin the journey in Baltimore on June 20 and ride for over 50 days, finishing up in San Francisco.

“I’ve already proven to myself that I can keep going when it’s really hard, that I can do hard things and really fight to keep going no matter what the obstacle is,” Nester told Elon News Network.

Nester’s ride will raise money for the Ulman Foundation, a non-profit that supports teenagers and young adults with cancer.

“When I’m on day 25 or whatever and crossing through the Colorado mountains, when I can’t go any longer,” Nester said, “I get to think about all the people that I’m going to help and why this means so much to me.”

“Harry Potter” and “Peaky Blinders” actress Helen McCrory died from cancer.

Helen McCrory, known for her portrayal of Narcissa Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” films, died of cancer, according to an announcement from her family on April 16.

Her husband, Damian Lewis, shared the news in a social media post. Lewis said that McCrory died peacefully at home, surrounded by friends and family.

“She died as she lived,” Lewis wrote. “Fearlessly.”

McCrory was also known for playing the role of Polly Gray in “Peaky Blinders.” Many of her costars shared tributes to the late actress.

"She elevated and made humane every scene, every character she played," said “Peaky Blinders” actor Cillian Murphy. "It was a privilege to have worked with this brilliant woman, to have shared so many laughs over the years."

Tom Felton, who played McCrory’s onscreen son in the Harry Potter films, wrote, “So sad to say farewell so suddenly – I never took the chance to tell her, but she helped shape me as a person so much – on and off screen. She was always relentlessly herself – razor sharp wit – silver tongued – kind and warm hearted – she suffered no fools yet had time for everyone.”

Baltimore Orioles player and cancer survivor Trey Mancini signed a ball for a fan with colon cancer.

Trey Mancini, first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles baseball team, returned to baseball this year after undergoing treatment for colon cancer. His recovery journey has been closely followed by Orioles fans, who have celebrated his milestones throughout the year.

Mancini’s cancer journey has been particularly impactful for fans with cancer, who have been inspired by his comeback. At Wednesday’s game against the Marlins, one fan sent a note to Mancini: “Hey Trey, my friend Brad is going through chemo and surgery for his colon cancer this week. Would you please sign a ball to Brad for some extra encouragement? You're the best!”

Mancini quickly accepted the request and signed a ball in support of his fan’s cancer journey.

CNN correspondent Rene Marsh announced the death of her son from brain cancer.

Rene Marsh, a CNN correspondent, announced the death of her 2-year-old son, Blake, on Instagram last week.

Blake died from pediatric brain cancer. He had been in remission for six months, but the cancer returned in November 2020, news which blindsided the family.

In the Instagram post, Marsh wrote, “In your 25 months on earth you taught me how much strength I had stored up in reserve that I didn’t know I had. You taught me endurance. You taught me a depth of love I have never experienced. You inspired me to keep going when I wanted to give up. You helped me prioritize what is truly important in this life. I am forever changed because of you, my son.”

On Twitter, Marsh thanked the providers that helped care for Blake. She wrote, “Thank you to all the doctors and nurses at #JohnsHopkins who cared for and loved Blake over the past year and a half.”

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