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UI Undergrad Receiving Breast Cancer Treatment While Earning Degree

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - Graduation day is just around the corner for many University of Iowa students.

The December ceremony, however, will be an extra special day for one undergrad student.

For Molly Barnhart, Thursday was just an average day in her finance class. Looking at the young faces in the room, you'd never know which one is a breast cancer survivor, but there is one.

"You don't get that at 20, you get that at 40 or 50 or 60," Barnhart said.

Molly Barnhart is only 23. Doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer in January of 2011. Through it all, she's had her eyes on graduation day.

"I am going to have two degrees, one in marketing and one in finance," Barnhart said.

While most college students stress about studying or sleeping, she's been stressing about breast cancer.

"I just feel like I'm living in a whole different world," Barnhart said. "My night's don't consist of going out drinking, even my 21st -- I was on chemotherapy when I turned 21, so I didn't."

Doctors have had conversations with her about tough topics like what the future holds and if she'll ever have children. Over the last couple of years, she has had a double mastectomy, several other surgeries and chemotherapy. She's still on a chemotherapy pill, one with painful side effects.

"I don't usually skip classes," Barnhart said. "I just kind of put on a straight face and try not to let anyone realize that it's going on."

She knows cancer is a much harder test than she'd ever have to face in one of her classes, but it's a test she passed. Molly is cancer free and ready for graduation in December.

"At this point I have high hopes that the rest of my life does not include cancer. And so I don't know, I'm just looking forward to the journey and seeing where it goes," Barnhart said.

It's a journey she says she'll always live to the fullest.

Molly, now, gets involved with cancer awareness events. She's going to be a runway model, along with other breast cancer survivors, in and event called "Surviving in Style" later this month In Iowa City. It'll raise money to help women pay for mammograms.

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