NEW YORK, NY — Kathi Hahn, wife of West Virginia University assistant basketball coach Billy Hahn, is a fighter. Twice she was diagnosed with cancer and twice she beat it. Her daughter, Ashley Calvary, eloquently detailed her mother’s story to producers of the Today Show who invited them to New York City to share the remarkable and inspirational story with the world.

“I feel terrific. Everything is wonderful and so many people helped,” said Kathi in a conversation on Thursday’s Today Show on NBC with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

Kathi was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in fall 2007. She endured two surgeries and chemotherapy, but by spring was in remission. To celebrate the family went to South Carolina on vacation.

“Our vacation came to an abrupt halt one day when my mom called to me from across the beach house in a concerned voice,” Ashley wrote in her letter to Today. “When I walked into the bathroom I found my mom standing in a mirror examining a lump on her neck.”

Three visits to three different doctors resulted in a diagnosis of leukemia.

“She told everybody she was an overachiever,” Ashley wrote. “She told everybody she got the leukemia so soon after the ovarian cancer so that she could get it over with and be done with it all.”

Survival depended on a bone marrow transplant, but none of her family was a match.  Doctors at Ruby Memorial Hospital put Kathi on the International Bone Marrow Registry and eventually found what they were looking for.

“Nobody matched me so they put me on the international list,” Kathi said. “A woman in Germany was a 10 out of 10, a perfect match.”

“The lady (donor) said that her daughter told her, ‘Mom I’m so scared,’” Ashley explained. “She said, ‘You know what, I’m going to save someone else’s mom.’ And that’s exactly what she did.”

After a successful transplant Kathi fulfilled her dream to dance at her daughter’s wedding.

“I think every single person there was in tears,” she said. “We had several people join us; it was like a group hug dance. It was wonderful.”

Kathi said her life is owed to a lot of people who did amazing work.

“Thank God for Nine-West at Ruby Memorial Hospital and Dr. Michael Craig,” Kathi said.

In honor of Kathi’s story, Gifford collaborated with another song writer and wrote song entitled “You Need a Miracle.” Broadway performer Danielle Williamson sang the song live on Today.

The Today Show has given the Hahn’s plane tickets so they can go to Dusseldorf, Germany to meet the donor.

 

 

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Comments

  • Lisa

    God is able. Just a mustard seed of faith is required. I was fortunate to have met Billy & Kathi Hahn while he was an assistant coach at Ohio U and took my son to meet them at a LaSalle game, as always they were kind, funny and friendly. I wish Kathi nothing but the best. My mother is a 22 year survivor of breast cancer while my youngest sister fought to the end of her young life at 37 years old. She brought awareness to thousands in her daily faith walk and we continue her efforts with fundraising and awareness activities all in the name of Kelly's Angels!

  • Rob

    Great point Brent. God does guide us and steer us when we open our minds to his direction. My family endured a similar situation whereby my wife discovered a lump in her breast six months after we moved back to WV. The care she received at Mary Babb proved to be the solution God wanted her to have as she has now been diagnoised as a Cancer Survivor seven years after the original finding. Having the faith coupled with outstanding care saved her life.

    God Bless the Hanh family in their journey.

  • WV Bud

    Well said Brent.And if we dont believe we better start.

  • mel

    If anyone knows where I can purchase the book that Ashley wrote about her Mother please let me know.

    Thanks

  • Lee

    Brent I never looked at it that way but you are right on my friend. God works his Miracles through us all everyday and he placed her exactly where she needed to be. He will now reach others through her story that has touch untold numbers on a national television stage.

  • Brent

    For those of us who believe, God brought Billy to WVU after an extended absence from coaching so that his wife could be close to the WVU cancer center. Miracles do happen.