RSJ graduate Parlette continues cancer fight

3/13/2007 | By: Staff Report  |

Reynolds School of Journalism graduate Alicia Parlette, who has written of her battle with cancer through a series of stories in the San Francisco Chronicle over the past two years, recently announced in the latest installment of the "Alicia's Story" series that she will be going on disability. The 2004 Reynolds School of Journalism graduate's update appeared in The Chronicle on Friday, March 9.

As has been the case throughout the "Alicia's Story" series – which has included publication of the series as a book – Parlette's announcement was honest, wrenching, and yet, hopeful.

On March 2, 2005, Parlette, then 23, was diagnosed with alveolar soft part sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects less than 200 people each year. In November 2005 Parlette returned to the Nevada campus to share her story as the 2005 Robert Laxalt Distinguished Writer, one of the Reynolds School of Journalism's most prestigious honors.

The Laxalt Distinguished Writer award is presented annually to accomplished Nevada writers. The award is in honor of the legendary Nevada journalism professor Robert Laxalt – considered one of the state's finest and most influential writers.

In her update on March 9, Parlette noted that although she will be on disability, she will continue to write.

"This will be my last piece in The Chronicle, at least for a while," wrote Parlette, a summa cum laude graduate of Nevada and recipient of a prestigious Hearst Fellowship. "I'm going on disability – maybe for a few months, maybe forever – because I just can't work often enough to justify being a full-fledged employee of Hearst Newspapers (or anything, for that matter).

"It's not because I'm suddenly deteriorating; I just can't keep up with work. Since I have the opportunity to put work on the shelf in order to get more aggressive about prolonging my life, I'm going to take it.

"But I'm not disappearing. Writing this series has been everything to me these past two years. It has been my comfort object and my therapy; my emotional protection and my emotional pipeline; my loving retreat and my connection to the world.

"So that connection will continue. While my work won't be appearing in The Chronicle – or any other print publication – I will be writing a blog, Alicia's Story, as a member of the public, at I look forward to emptying my life onto the page, digital though it may be, and I thank readers in advance for following me into the blogosphere."

There are other ways to stay connected with Parlette as well. Recently, several members of the Reynolds School faculty as well as students joined Parlette's "healing team." In addition to day-to-day roles that "team.alicia" has (including housing, medical, food), there are numerous slots available for those who simply wish to encourage Parlette's recovery through spirituality or prayer. To find out more about becoming a member of "team.alicia," e-mail Parlette at


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