Meet our scholar recipients
Meet Jacob Dominguez
"While it is true that not all cancer patients overcome the disease, it is true that we are all survivors, for we all fought and will fight to the end."
Just about everyone that I know likes gifts, regardless of the shape or size of them. Sports cars or new watches are some gifts that parents might award their children for their accomplishments. These types of gifts can be nice to look at, not to mention the fact that they are indeed tangible, but are nothing else than simple, material possessions that will eventually be forgotten. Fortunately, there is another type of gifts that contain higher significance. Among these gifts of impactful meaning, there is one that I strongly associate with survivorship. It is the gift of a second chance. This gift, unlike any other I’ve experienced, has no short-term lifespan but rather lasts a lifetime. This present produces not just instant gratification, but creates a lifestyle that promotes gratitude towards one’s self and encouragement toward others.
If I were given the opportunity to go back in time and live a life where cancer had never struck me, I would not. It might sound hypocritical as no well-minded person would willingly take such a path. However, it was through this battle that I learned the importance of gratitude. The American Cancer Society statistics support me when I say that the cancer mortality rates are not very promising. Yet I was given another opportunity, and because of this, I consider myself a very fortunate person for surviving leukemia. Knowing that my life was very close to ending at such a young age fills me with terror. That friends and acquaintances I’ve made, the memories of unforgettable experiences, the moments of laughter, heart-breaking sadness, and even humorous awkwardness are all things I am extremely appreciative of because I see them as mini-gifts that altogether make up the big second chance gift. Feeling indebted for the gift of a new possibility, I will as a survivor continue promoting gratitude because I’ve lived and understand its value.
Aside from having this gift benefitting myself, survivorship also motivates those surrounding me. Seeing a 3 year-old kid go through a bone marrow transplant is surely devastating for both the patient and the viewers. However, after a couple of hours after the horrendous yet necessary procedure, it is not uncommon to see the same child that tolerated such pain, smile, just as any other kid would. Occurrences like these greatly make an impression on the observer and plant the seed for self-improvement. The witness is then motivated to look at life from a more positive perspective. For example, a man with a broken had that once felt disappointment for injuring himself, will all of a sudden feel privileged for not having a life-threatening disease. Seeing others go through such grueling processes (as bad as it may sound), compels others to appreciate their own circumstances and life, since it is likely that their own is not as rough.
Despite the outcome of the situation, survivorship remains a gift for its positive effects. As a cancer survivor, I am thankful for the opportunity given to me and will actively continue encouraging others. While it is true that not all cancer patients overcome the disease, it is true that we are all survivors, for we all fought and will fight to the end.