Valley Magazine Names Kayla Nakonechni Fall Cover Girl

Valley Magazine has chosen Kayla Nakonechni as the Fall 2014 cover girl, the magazine announced early this morning. Though Valley so tastefully dubbed her “well-known on campus as the girl with brain cancer,” the announcement emphasizes that Kayla is much more than the disease she fights.

Penn State has followed Kayla’s journey since around March 2013. Then a junior just a few weeks out from having danced in THON 2013, Nakonechni began to notice troubling neurological symptoms. Her twitches escalated into full seizures in just weeks and after a rough summer she underwent a brain surgery in August 2013 to remove a growth on her parietal lobe.

Though the surgery was successful and Kayla’s spirits remained high, a biopsy of the removed growth revealed she suffered from stage 4 Astrocytoma. She underwent both occupational and speech therapy and wrapped up her chemo treatments in September 2013 and her radiation treatments in October 2013.

Though she’s experienced plenty of bumps in the road, including a recent lung infection earlier this month, Kayla remains close with both her Penn State and THON communities, attending football games and the Family Carnival recently. Penn State came together in support of Nakonechni as “Team Kayla” when she was first diagnosed and continues to do so via the “Team Kayla” Facebook page and “Team Kayla” t-shirts, and by following along with her blog.

Copies of Valley can be picked up around campus all this week so you can read more about Kayla and her journey.

About the Author

Melissa McCleery

Melissa is a senior majoring in Women’s Studies, Political Science, and Spanish. In the little free time she has, Melissa likes to cook, spend all her money at The Phyrst, and add to her collection of blue and white striped clothing. She can be reached via Twitter (@mkmccleery) or email ([email protected]).

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