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Latt is back in school

2012 Hastings High School graduate Naomi Latt is pictured helping out with the AWANA car derby at River of Life Church in February. One of the contestants made a "Team Naomi" car, which Latt is pictured with here. Submitted photo

Nobody has moved Naomi Latt out of her dorm room this year. And she intends to keep it that way.

Last fall, after starting her freshman year at the University of St. Thomas, Latt was diagnosed with a former of cancer called Ewing's sarcoma. She had to drop out to face a challenging year-long battle to kick the disease.

Consider that battle fought and won. Naomi Latt 1 - Cancer 0.

She's back at St. Thomas, hard at work, and with a clean bill of health.

"It's been hard, but it went faster than I thought it was going to," Latt said. "When they told me about all the treatment I was going to go through, I thought it was going to be horrible and that it wouldn't end. I think that because I had such a great group of people around me to get me through it -- and my faith -- I was like, 'It'll be over soon. I'll be OK.'"

Along the way, Latt said she has been amazed at the support she's received. Latt's friends and family threw her a big night of worship party.

"That was amazing," she said. "It was so much more than just a fundraiser. It really lifted my spirits. I love worship music and I love singing. We had bands from three different churches there. It wasn't sad. It was all happy."

Another group also put together a fundraiser for her through Wishes and More, a Minnesota charity.

"They are some of the most wonderful people ever," Latt said.

That's been a constant since her diagnosis, Latt said -- wonderful people.

"It's really unbelievable," she said. "How caring people can be for a complete stranger is amazing."

Following her diagnosis, Latt went through nine cycles of chemotherapy, eight weeks of radiation and a bone marrow transplant. Everything concluded April 18 and all of her scans since then have been normal, including a scan in August.

She is officially in remission.

"Physically, the bone marrow transplant was the hardest," she said. "It was not cool."

Latt spent 29 days in the hospital before and after that procedure.

"That's a long time to be away from your home," she said. "I got to the point where I spent more time in the hospital than I did in my house -- that's not fun."

By May, though, Latt was back in school. She took a class at Inver Hills Community College just to get back into school and learning, she said.

Classes began recently at St. Thomas and Latt said she is studying math and Spanish. She is a 2012 HHS graduate and had a 4.0 GPA for her four years at school here. She is technically still a sophomore at St. Thomas because of all the advanced classes she took while a student here.

The whole battle with cancer has strengthened Latt's faith and strengthened her faith in her friends.

"My faith has really grown," she said. "I've learned to trust God a lot more. I had to.There was nothing else I could do. I also learned who my true friends are. That's a big thing to figure out as a sophomore in college. You learn who the people who will stay are, no matter what happens."