Meet our Scholars

Years Awarded:
2021-2022
2020-2021
2019-2020

As a survivor, I have refused to allow cancer to keep me from prospering in my young adult life. I have come to an acceptance of a life with limitations, yet great opportunities.

What Survivorship Means to Me

Survivorship is a life calling bestowed upon the unprepared, but yet upon the strongest of fighters. It is something that is instilled deep within an individual and only breaks the surface when a life depends upon it. Survivorship is a calling that never ends. You will forever be known as the one who conquered, the one who was not defeated, and the one who came out on top of a gruesome battle. Survivorship brings with it a depth of experience and changes what one values. It is a double-edged sword of both personal victory over the monster of cancer but also carries the anguish over all that has been endured, coupled with the grief and guilt associated with living when you know so many who lost their battle to cancer. As a cancer survivor I am constantly living my life in memory of and as a tribute to every child- both personally known and unknown- who lost their life too early. Because I have survived the unfathomable, I see life through a different lens. I didn’t choose these lenses, but nevertheless, they are a part of who I am today and always will be.

Along with survivorship comes a new way of viewing the world. I view life in the longĀ­ term and commit to live every day to the fullest. Although it has given me a new perspective, cancer has also left its scars on me – both literally and figuratively. However, I choose to see these scars as badges of bravery, courage, and determination to persevere and overcome. I no longer look like a typical cancer patient with a bald head and a sickly pallor, but these scars will remain with me for the rest of my life. They represent my history as a fighter and the wisdom I have gained from these hard life experiences. Cancer has stolen many things from me. I have lost precious time and future opportunities, suffered never-ending pain and fatigue, and wrestle constantly with worries for my future. However, despite all of the hardships I have experienced and all that cancer has already taken from me, I have not – and will not – allow cancer to steal my identity. I am stronger than cancer. I am continuing to prosper and thrive in my life despite having difficulties and experiencing late effects from treatment. I am a survivor.

As a survivor, I have refused to allow cancer to keep me from prospering in my young adult life. I have come to an acceptance of a life with limitations, yet great opportunities.

Survivorship has provided me with a new focus and plan for my life. I am currently pursuing a degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology in preparation to head to graduate school to become a pediatric occupational therapist. Having spent years receiving therapy, I’ve seen what it is like to work in this field and have personally benefited greatly from the therapies I received from amazing PTs and OTs. The essence of therapy is turning something weak into something strong. Occupational therapists help people find ways to function in their everyday lives to be able to do the things they otherwise could not do. I want to empower young children to not see themselves as disabled, different, or incapable. I want to help teach them how they can revise routines and find ways around their disabilities. As a survivor, I know what it is like to be disabled and yet, I have been able to work around my limitations to pursue all that I want to in life. I want to use the knowledge that I’ve gained as a survivor to make a difference in the lives of young children. Perhaps you could say that I want to equip and embolden the next generation of survivors.

Although my cancer does not define me, it has profoundly changed my life. The relationships I’ve made, the character I’ve built, and the strength I’ve found within myself have made me a new and improved person. As a survivor I am committed to live my life with joy and pursue my dreams, no matter how many obstacles I must overcome in the process. I am grateful to be a survivor and recognize that I could not be in this position without the many instrumental people in my life who have made it possible.