In Memoriam

Karin Dubreuil Diamond '04
She blogged about her cancer fight with candor and humor.

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Writing, kayaking, skiing, compiling a to-do list that included learning to surf—Karin Dubreuil Diamond was living life to the fullest when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at 26. "For Karin, it was always about pushing herself to do more, to be more, to connect more, to learn more," says her husband, Craig Diamond. Married in 2007, the couple had been high school sweethearts.

An English/Journalism major, Diamond worked in corporate communications at Hartford Hospital and freelanced for the Huffington Post. She started her blog,, before her diagnosis, as a 20-something's musings on suburban life. In the four and a half years she fought her disease, she tallied 700,000 page views, captivating readers worldwide with her roller coaster ride of hope, frustration, and ultimate acceptance. "Writing was therapeutic," says her husband, noting that whenever doctors delivered devastating news, Diamond coped by focusing on sensory details that would help her share the moment with her readers. "Her writing wasn't about being sick. It was more about wellness, life, and love."

The progression of her disease from potentially curable to chronic to terminal never dampened Diamond's will. The couple traveled widely for her medical treatments and she researched something fun to do in every city. In Manhattan it was museums, Broadway plays, and restaurants. In Houston, Texas, at the same time the UConn men's basketball team was vying for a national championship there, she joined her husband in cheering his alma mater on to victory. Despite multiple chemotherapies, radiation treatments, surgery, and three stem cell transplants, she attended a writer's conference in California, hiked in Maine's Acadia National Park, and enjoyed a Caribbean cruise.

Diamond's close friend and college roommate Frankie Orbacz '04 remembers that the two bonded over mutual interests that included the Outing Club, Christmas, and Michael Jackson. But it was Diamond's kindness that her friend will remember most. Orbacz went through a difficult patch in her own life when her friend was in the middle of her cancer treatments. "She had so much to deal with that I didn't want to burden her with anything," Orbacz says. "She assured me that just because she was sick didn't mean she wasn't able to be there to support others."

As for that wish to learn to surf? Thanks to a nonprofit that offers outdoor adventure experiences to young adult cancer survivors, in the midst of more chemotherapy in 2012, Diamond conquered the waves at North Carolina's Outer Banks.

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