Liya's Story – Alula

My Story

There are few days that divide your life into two parts: before times and after times. For me, January 11, 2018 was one of those days. That morning, doctors discovered an 8 by 10 cm tumor in the center of my chest. Within days and on the cusp of my 30th birthday, I was diagnosed with stage 2 primary mediastinal b-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Liya Shuster-Bier

Simply put, treatment was brutal. I endured 800 hours of chemotherapy and immunotherapy infusions, a rapid succession of 20 radiation sessions and an autologous stem cell transplant that required a 100-day quarantine to safely recover. When the first round of treatment failed, and my cancer relapsed, my oncologists started second-line therapy.

While a support system emerged for me, until you’ve been there, you have no idea what to expect, or even how to ask for help, when you need it the most. Many of the resources I was looking for did exist, but only amongst intimate conversations between cancer-friends and in scattered corners of the internet.

And that’s why I started Alula, a radically honest resource centralizing the digital tools that make cancer less lonely. built by someone who’s been there… and is still there. Even in remission, I’m navigating the after-effects of treatment including medically induced menopause, radiation fibrosis and lymphedema.

 Alula will always be more than a business to me. In a way, it is a celebration — a celebration of my breath… of the fact that I’m still alive and that I get to dedicate my life to improving the experience of cancer for others. Welcome to Alula and the club that we both never asked to be a part of. But, perhaps there’s magic in discovering the fragility of life and doing it together.