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Sisters and Best Friends, Conquering Challenges Together

Sisters Greta & Anna: Fighting Hodgkins & Deployment together

There’s a saying out there about being kind to people no matter what, because we’re all fighting our own battles.

In the Geist family, they’ve experienced two battles. One is now, thankfully, conquered—18-year-old Greta’s fight against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is coming to a close, as recent tests came back showing no signs of her cancer. “I felt relief, happiness, and excitement all at the same time. I have continued to feel great since the news, feeling stronger every day. I love being back in my normal routine,” she says.

A New Challenge

But the other battle is just beginning: best friends and sisters Greta and Anna will be facing a different kind of challenge: physical separation.

“My sister Anna and I are best friends and have always been extremely close. My whole family—my loving parents and amazing brother David included—is close and we are each other’s biggest fans. The relationship I have with my sister hasn’t changed. She continues to show me so much love and support like she always has,” Greta says of her sister’s role in her journey through cancer treatment. And now Greta will be putting sleepovers, driving around town with country music blasting, trips to the protein-shake shop, and mani/pedis on hold as Anna goes through training and deployment to Kuwait.

“It didn’t catch us blindsided,” Greta says about the upcoming deployment—unlike the Hodgkin’s. “But it will still require quite an adjustment. We have made sure to spend time together whenever possible. We plan to be calling and Facetiming each other all the time.” In fact, Greta’s spirit and optimism seems nearly unsinkable: “I think of myself as positive, hard-working, determined, and good-hearted,” she says.  “I always try to point out the positives, because I believe there is something positive in everything and everyone.”

In the upcoming months, Greta will be finishing her cancer-conquering medications and Anna will be saying hello to her new adventure, both hugging each other (one of their favorite activities, says Greta) from a distance. Sisters. Friends. Two American girls. Being kind. Conquering new battles. Celebrating life.

Think about a challenge you faced. How did family and friends help support you? Share your stories of hope and encouragement below.

About the Author:

Katie Dohman is a freelance writer and editor living in St. Paul with her husband, new baby girl, and two rescue mutts.

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17 Replies

  • By laura a.

    Katie,
    Thank you for sharing Greta and Anna’s story. Two amazing individuals who have been through it all and still have a positive attitude–true greatness in this world today. Good luck to both of the girls and their family–I’ll be thinking about them over Independence day!

  • By Carla Zawadzki

    Praying for you sisters and family here in Indiana! Was just online reading about a friends’ granddaughter in Washington State who is fighting cancer and isn’t doing well. Makes me so sad and even angry that cancer is STILL out of control….but, I am a believer in God’s healing power and I pray that for you all. Carla in Carmel

  • By kandis

    Hello darling.

    I am also fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma. I was diagnosed in March. I love to hear you won!

    Hug your sister tight.

  • By Kathleen Jordan

    I went through breast cancer a few years ago – well it’s been almost eight now that I think about it. That was a very scary time in my life as you can image. But with the help of friends and famiy – going through a lumpectomy and chemo and radiation I came out of it on the right side “cancer free”.

  • By Lauretta Schrock

    Great story, my thoughts and prayers go out to both of them. Thanks to Anna for her service to our country. And to Greta for continued good health.

  • By Sharon

    God bless you both as you struggle with the difficulties of life BUT with Jesus He’ll help you through.

  • By Kyndal

    Hi Katie Dohman, my name is Kyndal. I just this picture of two sisters on the Caringbridge website and that one of the sisters is a soldier, I got so excited when I saw one of the sister in a Army uniform, I am a big fan, and a big supporter and prayer warrior of the Troops!!! I saw what the female soldiers name is, that her name is Anna, hey Katie Dohman, if you get to talk to Anna, you probably won’t, but if you do get to talk to her, will you tell her that I say “Thank You” to her for her wonderful service to our country, and I saw that she is fixing to deploy soon, will you also tell her for me that she has m total support and that she will be in my prayers, oh and I saw where Anna’s sister has Cancer, bless her heart. Will you please tell Anna that her sister will also be in my prayers too.

  • By Bob Ballance

    Greta, I am a 26 year survivor of Hodgkins Lymphoma. Now 70 years old. It was Stage 2B located in 2 spots. Had chemo and radiation. Wishing you the same great results.

  • By Cheri Beauvais

    Thank you to Anna for your service and sacrifice leaving your sis. Have a little experience in both areas as one of my sister’s also fought a cancer battle (ovarian) twice and my daughter had been deployed twice. Luckily both are still around to enjoy, hug and love. God bless you both.

  • By Janice giannetti

    Bless you both. It’s good to hear of the closeness you share. This is such a good example for our young people. There are not enough of these. God be with both of you in your endeavors for the future.

  • By Sue Richardson, Cookeville, TN.

    Another new friend that will be thinking of the 2 of you. I know all will be well with both of you.. Keep everyone posted on how you all are doing. Everyone will be anxious to hear from you. Have a blessed week.

  • By Terry Forrest

    Best of luck to you

  • By Sonya du Boulay

    I love your story.
    I never had a sister however my mum was there through my battle 11years ago of Hodgkins disease.
    I am a fighter and like attitude remainpositive and there is a new beginning after having gone through cancer.Never ever take life for granted as we are all vistors on this Earth.Enjoy your time.God bless.

  • By JOHANES.RUTA

    ILOV YOUR STORY

  • By Imogene

    Prayers for both of you and for your family. So happy to hear that there are no more signs of the cancer. Thanks to Anna for her service to our Country. My prayers will be with you while you are away. God Bless you all!!

  • By Sandi

    May God be with both of you, and the rest of your family. So glad Greta has beat the cancer battle. And thank you Anna for serving our country.

  • By Janice giannetti

    Such a beautiful story. Bless them.:-)