Maggie On The Mend

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, December 23, 2010

Move over Matt Lauer, Daniel Radcliffe and Katharine McPhee.Make room for Maggie Cupit.

Cupit, one of Brookhaven’s shining stars, has been gracing thelikes of commercials, television shows, promotions and music videoswith her upbeat character and spunky personality, all whilehandling the ups and downs of cancer treatment.

“Most of the filming took place between chemo,” said Cupit.”It’s nice to have something to do.”

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A chemistry major at Rhodes College in Memphis, Cupit wasscheduled to start an internship at St. Jude Children’s ResearchHospital after her freshman year in college.

However, after getting an MRI for what she thought was torncartilage in her knee, the 19-year-old would not get her chance toparticipate in cancer research. Ironically, in May she would bediagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, and become apatient at St. Jude.

Since being diagnosed, Cupit has undergone chemotherapy,physical therapy and various medical treatments on her road torecovery. Most recently, Cupit has regained the use of her legafter surgeons removed her entire tibia and installed a metal kneereplacement.

“Now, I’m walking pretty much like a normal person, which ispretty exciting,” said Cupit. “My leg gets tired sometimes, butit’s really nice to be a little more independent.”

Cupit added that her cancer is 100 percent dead, but willundergo additional scans and four more chemotherapy treatments justin case her recent surgery jarred loose any cancer cells.

“Hopefully, I’ll be done with treatment come this May,” saidCupit. “First home to Brookhaven, then I’ll come back to doresearch, then I’ll start school in the fall.”

In the meantime, Cupit will have her cameos to keep her occupiedas she regains her strength and works her way back to her formerself.

Cupit’s recent appearances include a campaign commercial for St.Jude during “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which starsRadcliffe as the boy wizard, dancing with Lauer on “The TodayShow,” hanging out with “American Idol” singer McPhee for a musicvideo and telling her story for a Tri Delta Sorority promotionalvideo.

Cupit attributes her film popularity to her outgoingpersonality.

“I think part of it is I really like the spotlight and they knowthat,” said Cupit. “I am not shy at all.”

While she has enjoyed being the center of attention, Cupitadmits that appearing on camera may occupy her time, but does notfree her mind totally of her illness.

“I don’t know if it takes my mind off (recovery) because thewhole reason I’m in it is because I am here,” said Cupit. “It makesme feel proud to be a part of raising money for St. Jude.”

The Brookhaven native also mentioned that she enjoys raisingawareness for the hospital’s older patients, as people most oftenthink of the research facility as a place for children.

“I think going through cancer as a teenager is harder in a lotof ways,” said Cupit. “If you’re my age, you know what you’remissing – you have to put your whole life on hold.”

Cupit hopes to press play on her life in the near future. Shealso hopes to practice pediatric oncology, which she thinks herprevious and ongoing experiences will allow her to relate topatients about much more than medicine.

“I’ll have a lot more drive when it comes to researchingcancer,” said Cupit. “I know how bad it is to go throughtreatment.”