Kara Lambrecht graduated from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration in 2011 with a degree in international business that immediately brought her new challenges. She secured a position as a consultant with Cerner Corporation, a health care company in Kansas City, Mo., where she also interned in college. After a year at Cerner applying what she learned in college to her career, she was hit with an even bigger challenge.
“Toward the beginning of 2013 I felt really sick, lost a lot of weight and didn’t have any energy,” Lambrecht said. “I went on a family vacation in Mexico and one of my sisters noticed I had a lump above my sternum. After some medical tests my doctor called and told me I had a nine-inch cancerous tumor in my chest and referred me to a cancer center for treatment.”
Lambrecht was at Cerner when the call came.
“I immediately packed my stuff and my team told me to go home and figure out what I needed to do. Right from the beginning work was really supportive,” she said.
She returned to her hometown in Omaha, Neb., for treatment of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
“I went from one week thinking I had bad heartburn to starting chemotherapy the next,” she said.
After she was diagnosed, Lambrecht’s co-workers organized an event called Pancakes for Kara where they raised money to buy her gifts she could use in her hospital room during treatment, including a pair of nice headphones. The support helped give her the determination to give back to her team earlier than anyone expected.
Kara Lambrecht at Cerner in Kansas City, Mo.
“I worked from home every third week. I had 96 hours of continuous inpatient chemotherapy the first week and then felt terrible the next week. But the third week I could get some work done from home, take my mind off my treatment and contribute to my team,” she said.
In college, Lambrecht was president of the CBA student advisory board and her leadership skills shined during her recovery. Just 20 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer she was able to return to her office and resume doing the things she loves.
“CBA prepares students to accomplish anything and interact professionally anywhere they go,” she said. “One thing I took advantage of at CBA was networking and getting to know people. Interpersonal communication in business is huge and it’s a big part of my job at Cerner.”
Lambrecht, who supports Cerner clients who purchase electronic medical software from the company, sees her job from a unique perspective since her recovery.
“One of our new software applications is related to oncology,” she said. “That workflow is something I know more about now that I’ve started working with this application. It’s fulfilling to know I can contribute to cancer patient care in the future.”