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Criminal justice grad triumphs over illness

Ellen Fisher ’13, a UW-Eau Claire criminal justice graduate, faced the fight of her life during her last semester on campus.

A few months before, Fisher experienced a slew of mild, seemingly unrelated symptoms and saw her physician for a routine physical. Testing revealed a tumor on her thyroid, and a biopsy confirmed it was cancerous.

After her diagnosis Fisher reached out to Jacqueline Bonneville, UW-Eau Claire assistant dean of students, who informed her of the numerous options available to help her reach graduation.

“All of my professors went out of their way to show me that I was important to UW-Eau Claire, which gave me tremendous motivation to fight on,” Fisher said.

With immense support from UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff, Fisher graduated in December 2013, just four months after experiencing grueling surgery and treatment. She now works at Lutheran Social Services in Eau Claire and began pursuing her master’s degree in social work on the UW-Eau Claire campus through UW-Madison’s School of Social Work this fall.

“I never imagined that cancer would be part of my daily life at age 23, but I am so grateful that this happened while I was at UW-Eau Claire,” Fisher said. “The university surrounded me, supported my ability to continue my education and launched me forward when cancer felt like there was no ‘forward.’”