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College student uses what she learned in cancer battle to help others

HOUSTON – Caitlyn Mortus has been through a lot in her short life.

Diagnosed with cancer at the age of 13, she battled through it and is now giving back to the community that changed her life forever.

"I've been playing soccer my whole life. And, one day at soccer practice I got hit in the face and my gum had started to hurt a little,” she said.

That seemingly slight injury turned into pain that wouldn’t go away.

After several trips to medical professionals, a biopsy revealed Burkitt’s lymphoma, a particularly aggressive form of cancer.

“I had a tumor about the size of a tennis ball growing out of my sinus cavity and it doubles in size every 24 hours,” Caitlyn said.

She went into treatment immediately, before the tumor could grow larger.

PHOTOS: Caitlyn Mortus gives back after battle with cancer

Fortunately, her lymphoma responded quickly to chemotherapy, but her treatments required long stays in the hospital with little to no contact with family and friends.

“I was really active, outgoing. I’ve played soccer my whole life, so that was something that got taken away from me,” she said.

The isolation was tough, but a family friend gave her a netbook computer that allowed her to watch videos, use Facebook, and Skype with her loved ones.

Caitlyn beat her cancer, and after her ordeal ended, she decided to pay forward the kindness that was bestowed on her.

She and her parents founded Keep Kids Connected, a charity that provides tablets to kids with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. She wants to make sure other kids in the hospital have the same cyber-connection to the outside world that she had.

So far, Keep Kids Connected has given away over 800 tablets to patients in Houston, around the United States and internationally.

And that’s not all, Caitlyn has decided to pay forward the kindness her caregivers provided her.

“I remember the good nurses and I remember how big of an impact they had on me, that I want to have the same impact on other kids,” Caitlyn said.

To that end, she is studying nursing at the University of Texas at Tyler.

“It’s something I’m really passionate about, helping other people,” she said.

You can visit her Facebook page here.

Click here to visit her website.

KPRC2 meteorologist Eric Braate is taking an incredible and emotional journey in 2017 for a good cause.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE THROUGH ERIC'S PAGE!

KPRC2 and Eric are teaming up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to do something amazing. LLS does incredible work to assist blood cancer patients and their families. It also funds cutting-edge research to advance treatments and to zero in on a cure.

PHOTOS: Eric Braate training

Follow Eric on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to see the ups and downs of a very intense training process.

Click here to read more about Eric's training.

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