Who Are the Peer Coaches?
Meet Our Coaches
Each coach is a member of the teen and young adult cancer community and knows what it’s like to walk the walk of being a cancer patient at such a young age. Our coaches are all interviewed, trained, evaluated, and continuously monitored by Duke medical professionals in order to ensure the most effective and research-based support is taking place.
Bud is a 21-year-old undergraduate student from Newton Grove, North Carolina, currently studying Media Production at UNC Chapel Hill. At 14, he was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and received treatment at Duke Children’s Hospital. After facing the challenges of treatment and recovery, he emerged stronger than ever. As a cancer survivor, Bud is dedicated to spreading awareness and supporting others facing similar challenges. He is excited to be a part of a network that helps people navigate the difficult journey of cancer treatment and recovery, and is committed to giving back to the cancer community in any way that he can. He is determined to use his experiences to make a positive impact on others.
Cat is a 29 -year, Cleveland, Ohio native. After graduating from Kent State University with a degree in Special Education, Cat moved to North Carolina to work as a middle school teacher. Cat was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2018, and again with recurrence in 2019. Cat chose Duke as her partner in care through chemotherapy, radiation, and a stem cell transplant. Cat is passionate about walking alongside fellow teen and young adult patients and supporting each individual as best as possible. Some of Cat’s favorites: yoga and jogging, a hearty to-do list, guilty pleasure reality TV, and “that feeling you get when you genuinely connect with someone!”
Zach is a 25 year old childhood cancer survivor who had a bone marrow transplant at Duke Children’s Hospital to treat his Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Zach graduated from North Carolina State University in May of 2020 and now works at Merck in Durham. During his time at NC State, he volunteered with the Duke Health system in the Pediatric Blood and Marrow and Pre-Admission Testing units. Zach knows from experience that handling the complicated diagnosis, treatment, and lasting impacts of childhood/young adult cancer can be tremendously difficult, so he is passionate about empowering young people to manage their own healthcare. “This lifelong commitment to one’s health can be incredibly daunting. It is important to develop a system of care that puts the patient in the lead, with a supporting network that can further their confidence to do so. I am excited to be a part of this network and help people going through the same things I went through in any way that I can!”
Viviana is a 22 year old cancer survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, diagnosed at age 17, and treated at the University of Michigan. After a long and complicated diagnostic process and dealing with many lingering effects of treatment, she understands the complexity and frustration that often accompanies both cancer treatment and life afterwards. Viviana is a recent graduate of Duke University, studying chemistry and psychology. She has volunteered extensively within the Duke Health System and has a strong understanding of how to navigate important processes and platforms. She is passionate about providing community and support to cancer patients and survivors and using lived experience to engage in conversation with a deep level of understanding that is unique to the Bobby’s coaches program. Viviana enjoys hiking, kayaking, cooking, baking, reading, and hanging out with her two dogs.