Staying strong

University staff member Alise Svihla battles cancer


Graphic by Tiera Rivers

A Coastal Carolina University faculty member is receiving treatment for stage 4 colon cancer while working remotely in Virginia.

Last May, Alise Svihla began her position as the associate athletic director for student athlete academic services.

According to Svihla, she began feeling sharp pain in her abdomen in September. By October, she was diagnosed with colon cancer spreading. A couple of months later, her colon cancer progressed to stage 4.

“Once I was diagnosed with everything and we did all the testing they decided on a treatment plan, I met with a bunch of doctors at multiple hospitals and figured out where I’d be treated and what the plan was going to be moving forward,” Svihla said.

Svihla is now undergoing treatment in Virginia as she continues to work for Coastal remotely to academically advise the lacrosse team. Freshman lacrosse athlete Lily Wallace felt the heartbreak and unity of the team when they received the news.

“We were really sad and touched she was going through this, but we just knew we were going to be with her and help her anyway throughout the process,” Wallace said. “Even though we had only known her for such a short time, she had already become such a big part of so many people’s lives.”

Kennedy Manning, a sophomore lacrosse athlete, credits Svihla to be an influence in her life.

“She really is a part of our family now, and I believe she has helped us in so many ways. Knowing Alise has completely honestly changed who I am, even before this happened to her,” Manning said.

Frankie Weeks, a colleague and friend of Alise, organized a GoFundMe page and “Alise Strong” t-shirts on Etsy to assist the cost of Svihla’s treatment. The GoFundMe page currently has raised $28,440 from nearly 400 donors. The t-shirts have raised over one thousand dollars and seen over 200 sales nationwide.

”When Alise first got her diagnosis, of course you feel helpless like there’s nothing you can do,” Weeks said. “I was thinking that we can’t fix it ourselves or make it go away, but we can at least ease some of her burden, especially with insurance and not knowing what to expect with this sort of thing.”

According to Weeks, it’s not all about the money, but rather the thoughts and prayers from people all over the nation caring.

Another fundraiser was hosted March 11 at Rustic Roast and raised over $1,050 in donations.

According to Svihla, the support she receives from the University and her student athletes has helped her fight.

“I am so appreciative of the support Coastal has given me and just really appreciative to be able to still continue to meet with my students. They are such a big piece of this and have been a huge blessing. That’s what is keeping me going through treatment,” Svihla said.