Community Rallies Behind Teen with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

In May 2022, 14-year-old Clara Motschenbacher and her family received frightening news. The teenager had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a rare cancer that affects the lymphatic system. But according to Valley News Live, the Motschenbacher family soon felt the full support of the local Fargo community. 

Clara’s mother explains that she does not know many people whose children have been diagnosed with cancer. Regardless, she shares, the experience has not been isolating for them. Rather, the community has been doing whatever they can to support the Motschenbachers emotionally and financially.

With the treatments that Clara has undergone, she has actually entered into remission. However, the family is going to continue with treatments at the Mayo Clinic soon. As many people who have undergone similar medical treatments know, it can be costly. But through fundraising, the Fargo community has helped to raise nearly $24K for Clara and her family. 

If you would like to learn more about Clara and her story, you may do so via CaringBridge. Please be advised that to access Clara’s story, you will need to create a CaringBridge account. 

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: What is It?

As described above, Hodgkin’s lymphoma (sometimes called Hodgkin lymphoma or Hodgkin disease) is a rare cancer of the lymphatic system. Normally, the lymphatic system plays a role in immune response. It consists of the spleen, lymph nodes, thymus, and tonsils (among others). In Hodgkin’s lymphoma, mutations in B-cell DNA cause abnormal B cells to crowd healthy cells out of the lymphatic system. Ultimately, this prevents the body from adequately fighting infection. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is often broken down into categories such as lymphocyte depleted or lymphocyte predominant, mixed cellularity, and nodular sclerosis. 

Typically, Hodgkin’s lymphoma affects those between ages 15-40, though it can affect others in rarer cases. Symptoms and characteristics can (but do not always) include:

  • Fever, chills, and night sweats
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, chest, groin, abdomen, or armpits
  • Fatigue
  • Severe itching
  • Enlarged spleen and/or liver
  • Bone pain
  • Lymph node pain while drinking alcohol 
  • Shortness of breath
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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