Meet Jacob Waldron
"Survivorship means always keeping courage close to your heart and to show others how it is possible to overcome anything as long as optimism and hope prevail."
How could I eloquently describe what it was like to slowly come to life again once the treatment stopped and to feel the fear recede and hope win? How could I explain that my curiosity grew as my life expanded outside the hospital walls, and I ardently attacked my school work, not only catching up, but rising to the top ten percent of my class–my success in school was in part because I felt I owed it to all the childhood cancer victims to live well and succeed. Could I portray what it was like to come out of the shell of pain and tests and want to show the world how wonderful being alive is by fully immersing myself in the dramatic and musical arts; being in stage productions allowed me to escape to a world where no child is ever in pain, and how it helped me move on from all I had been through? I was not sure that it was possible to explain how the long days of isolation in hospital rooms inspired a love of reading and that I gorged on books as the written word became a lifelong friend. Could I chronicle the amount of people who surrounded me with support, many I had not meet before, and how each one of them left a footprint on my journey through treatment? Was it possible to explain that while I would give anything to not have had cancer, it was a bittersweet because I would never have met so many fantastic and selfless people?
I was doubtful that I could paint the picture of what my life had been during treatment and dubious of my right to represent the others who have suffered from the same illness. When the day of the event finally came and I stared out at my audience, I realized that I had to speak for all those inflicted with this illness and share our struggle with others. This, to me, is what survivorship means; becoming one with all childhood cancer victims, and allowing your experience with the illness to shape you into a better person, even if you have to push through your own insecurities. Survivorship means always keeping courage close to your heart and to show others how it is possible to overcome anything as long as optimism and hope prevail.