Students Fight Cancer

Under the heading Students Fight Cancer, students in Maastricht are committed to raising funds for pioneering and promising research in Maastricht UMC + and partner hospitals. Since its inception in September 2019, no less than € 46.396 has been donated to Cancer Research Fund Limburg.


Daan van der Klugt: An incredibly sweeping roller coaster ride full of highs and lows

04-01-2022 | 13:58


Dear reader,

My name is Daan van der Klugt and at the age of 22 I was told I had lymphoma. Just after the Easter weekend, on April 7, 2021, I was first admitted to the hospital with severe breathing problems and swollen ankles. A short month later, I was finally told that I have/had cancer in addition to a rare kidney disease. To be exact, nephrotic syndrome (kidney disease) and Hodgkin lymphoma in the left armpit, stage 1. That was a shock.

In that short month a lot happened. The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong and I continued to deteriorate. I began to retain a big amount of fluids due to the kidney disease, and unfortunately the medication did not work. In the meantime, I was on a high dose of medication and my blood results reached a record. There was something wrong and eventually, at my personal request, I was thoroughly examined again by means of a CT scan etc. It showed that there were several deposits in my left armpit. This was something that had been overlooked on earlier scans. The alarm bells began to ring and in no time I was in an operating room. This painful experience was followed by the bad news call.

I was sitting in my hospital room. Full of disbelief, I then heard what was waiting for me. A terribly frightening moment and the ground literally fell from under my feet. Why me, I asked myself?

From that moment on I went on a roller coaster ride that I could never have dreamed of before. As everyone can imagine, a very radical roller coaster ride full of highs and lows. But above all many highs fortunately! Soon I wanted to share the news with my friends. It was special to see that everyone thought of me. My phone was ringing all the night; I got a lot of sweet messages and questions. The news spread and before I knew it I was the talk of the day with friends and acquaintances. I myself did not know how to respond to everyone and was still looking for answers. To still be able to provide everyone with my story I decided to start a blog. Which I really enjoyed doing! Blogging really gave me a place where I could tell my story. A place where I could write my thoughts off and where I could summarize my adventures. Because geez, I have been through a lot. Where I never came to the hospital before, I had now become a regular visitor. Blood tests, infusions or a scan, it has all become routine. Nothing is too crazy for me anymore and I have plenty of experiences.

This brings me to one of the highlights of my story. The best part of my adventures was the fundraiser. This was organized by friends from my student life who really sympathized with me. In no time at all we had raised an enormous amount of €10,000! I could only dream of something like that before and I jumped in the air with happiness! I even jumped in the air so much that I lost my grip on reality for a moment. With all these new experiences, I started thinking of great things. I wanted to write books, make music and I don't know what else. This combined with little sleep and a truckload of pills caused me to lose it all. And after a drastic reduction in medication and a lot of rest, I thankfully came out of this.

Of course, I have also been through a few things concerning chemotherapy. In the beginning it was no fun and I had to go to the emergency room many times. Fortunately, these symptoms eased up over time and it went better and better each time. Eventually, I had something to hold on to during the treatments and I knew what I was doing it for. 

I also had a lot of support from all the sweet people around me. I was overwhelmed with cards, messages and you name it. That made me very happy and I really wish everyone the best.

Though I've been lucky, this is unfortunately not true for everyone. During my illness process, I have also seen the hard side of cancer. A roommate with whom I shared a hospital room did not make it and many of the ones I have met have been declared incurable. Furthermore, there are many people around me who in one way or another do come into contact with this terrible disease.

I hope to use this story to encourage people to donate to Students Fight Cancer. Because a lot of research has been done into this disease in the past I can fortunately still live my life. People like me can reap the benefits of pioneering cancer research. And I am truly grateful for that!

On December 3, 2021, I was fortunate enough to hear that I am in remission. Meanwhile, my kidneys are doing better and I'm slowly resuming my life.

If there are any questions please do not hesitate to send me a message!


Daan van der Klugt


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