Meet Anthony Dowd
"Currently, I am living as a survivor which I now understand is an immense gift not to be taken for granted. "
Survivorship to me means more than simply the presence of life. Survivorship is the ability to take what life presents you in stride and go forward with purpose. Survivorship is taking the fear that is associated with things not in my control (ultimately the fear of death) and channel it into the energy required to tenaciously cling to life. It was during my junior year that I earned the highest GPA that I had achieved to date. I excelled in my classes and earned the designation of “AP Scholar with Honors” from the AP College Board. I was thrilled to discover I had earned a “5” on my Psychology AP Exam. Although just shy of my goal, it was during my junior year that I was able to achieve a 29 on the ACT exam. I am a survivor.
I am more than a cancer survivor. Ironically, just before I was diagnosed with lymphoma, my parents were taking the necessary steps for me to be evaluated for mental health. After my treatments were stabilized for lymphoma, I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist as clinically depressed. The thought of living and dying were equally appealing. Life had little value to me, so much so that I was not as affected by my cancer diagnosis as my family was. Again, I had a choice. I chose to live. Survivorship means to work with my psychiatrist to determine which medicines help me the most. Survivorship means being an active participant in therapy sessions with my psychologist to allow me to find strategies to aid in my success and to understand and change my outlook. Although life is not a “bed of roses,” I am generally happy. I am excited about high school graduation, attending college and everything that my future holds. I am a survivor.
I am more than a mental health survivor. I am an African-American male. Statistically speaking, I should be a product of a single-parent home. According to the opinion of many, I should be using or selling drugs, firmly rooted in the pipeline to prison. What survivorship means to me is my continued fight to prove the media wrong. Although the expectation of me is low, I will set the bar high. I will continue to challenge my mind with the math and science classes that will prepare me for a future career in the medical profession. I will utilize my resources to show that I am able to do anything that I put my mind to do. I am a survivor. Survivorship means that I will live in the moment, be confident in my contribution and intentional in my desire to change the world.