Meet our scholar recipients
"Challenges continue with my vision but I have tools under my sleeve to combat their moves."
February 16, 2010 was a life changing day for me. Some may have considered it to be a regular day in their lives, but for my-family and I, our worlds were turned upside down. I was sixteen years into life with a diagnosis of cancerous brain tumor lying on my shoulders. My father was enraged and blamed the doctor for the news, my mom sobbed as tears rushed down her face, and I sat with my mouth open, in terrible shock. As we coped with our confused feelings, hope was just around the comer; the medical personnel did not delay the process, and after a treating hospital was found, my mother and I packed our bags for my long stay. The journey was quite bumpy from there. My mother was unable to stay because she had to care for my younger sister at home and my father worked in another state, so at times, I lay with no visitors but the hospital staff to comfort me. I admit that I was frightened the majority of the time as familiar faces were not always there to guide and reassure me, but looking back, I was foolish to not have had developed trust in the workers from the beginning because they put forth their all to ensure that I got better. I now understand that I was in good hands all along.
The influence that the staff at T.C. Thompson’s Children’s Hospital at Erlanger of Chattanooga, TN has been an inspiration. My cancer diagnosis, although a struggle, has served as a point of realization for me. My experiences have allowed me to come into contact with experts that dedicate themselves for the welfare of the nation, which I have complete respect for. This respect has thus grown into my personal passion of entering the medical field to become a doctor. This past semester, I entered into the University of West Georgia, where I came one step closer to achieving this goal when I declared my major to be Biology. Although the brain tumor caused me to lose all of my vision in my right eye and partially lose sight on the left, which only tries to inhibit my actions, I will not be intimidated. As of now, I have fought my way, hurdling through high school as I battled the impacts of cancer, and I have won; the impacts may or may not continue the attempts to make me feel inferior, but who is to say that I will allow for defeat?
Due to the side effects of the tumor, this venture goes on. Fortunately I have had resources that aid in the pursuit of my goal, such as magnifiers and disability services. Challenges will choose to arrive at unexpected moments to cause fear, and if one is not fully equipped, this fear would take over. The courage that I have gained through my diagnosis has prepared me for such occasions. Either way, one need not worry about what could have been, but what should be done.
Above other things, having been diagnosed with cancer at an early age meant survival, which is more than my family and I could ask for. At the start of my journey, I considered the road to be a pain stake, but time has taught me that great impact is a step-by-step process that one must take in day-by-day. I have also learned that one must not stand around waiting for significant changes in life before decisions are made because they will become missed opportunities in the long run . The adventure begins when passion is evident to one’s self as well as others around them, and with dedication, these journeys continue throughout life until personal goals are met.
In conclusion, cancer has been an adventure that continues to this day, which has provided me with a better out look of life and who I am. My diagnosis allowed me to realize the passion that I have to be in the medical field, because even on my toughest days, the medical personnel at my hospital kept me happy and prepared for the future and to my experiences. I now know the path that I want to take for mine. Challenges continue with my vision but I have tools under my sleeve to combat their moves. I have come this far, and will not be one to limit my actions for the sake of those who are in need of medical assistance.