Meet our Scholars

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"When fighting my battle against cancer I was challenged physically, socially and spiritually."

Imagine a girl with a heart to help others and a goal to be the best that she can be. That girl is me. I am a seventeen year old young woman with an older sister and two female foreign exchange students who live with me. I maintain excellent grades and am involved in numerous activities. I work hard to achieve what l want and love helping others. However, I would not be who I am without the horrible diagnosis of cancer as a child. Who knew my nightmare would turn into my dream.

I was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in my right sinus cavity at age eight. The doctors could not operate since the tumor was near my optic nerve and close to my brain. I endured five weeks of daily radiation and ten months of chemotherapy. I was blessed to have my last chemotherapy treatment before Christmas, which was an answered prayer. I am now almost ten years cured. I never regret going through cancer because it transformed me into the person I am today.

When fighting my battle against cancer I was challenged physically, socially and spiritually. I was a girl who was involved in many activities like: jazz, tap, ballet, piano and baton. My body sacrificed its energy to battle cancer. I temporarily stopped tap and baton lessons because I was too weak and had lost a lot of weight.

Socially I became more aware of my feelings and the attitudes of others around me. paid attention to my body and told my family when anything felt different. I was so exhausted that I did not want to be around anyone. This hurt people’s feelings since they wanted to do things to help me. I saw how differently people looked at me with no hair, and now have compassion for those who appear different on the outside.

Cancer changed me spiritually. It brought me closer to God. I would pray to Him each night to put His healing hand on me. God was also someone l trusted to be with me at all times. I even put a guardian angel on my courage medal, a gift from friends, as a reminder that He was holding my hand through everything I did. I also prayed to God to comfort my friends and family during this scary time and to put happiness into their life. Cancer strengthened my relationship with God. Ten years later I am as good as new. I have almost 20/20 vision again. I am full of energy and involved in many activities like: jazz, tumbling, voice, school choir, church choir and baton. My life is that of a typical teenager. I get up early for school, stay up late doing homework , and love hanging out with friends.

Socially I have also changed. I now have a better understanding of the world around me. I am outgoing and if I ever get scared I tell myself “Kelsey, you made it through cancer you can definitely make it through this!” I have many great friends who will always be there for me. I actually planned a trip to Disneyland with them for spring break by organizing a book drive for Disney’s 2010 Give a Day Get a Day Park entrance program. I speak frequently about my battle against cancer at events like the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life or on behalf of Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Relay for Life is an overnight event that raises money to find a cure for cancer and to help those going through cancer. I have been a part of Relay for the last ten years and Jove doing it. It is a great way for me to hang out with friends and allows me and my friends to raise money for cancer research so other children do not have to go through what I went through.

Spiritually I have grown in many ways. I enjoy attending church each Sunday and love to sing His praises. I know and trust that God will always be there for me and that He is always by my side. I also know that I would not be here if I did not have Him in my life. I thank God because He allows me to make a difference in other people’s lives and help other families battling cancer. I hope to one day be able to save the lives of children going through cancer like He did mine. I am so thankful that I had cancer because it helped me grow closer to God and become the person God wants me to be.

Cancer not only has changed my life but is has lit the pathway to my future. I plan to become a Pediatric Oncologist when I finish college. 1 believe that I will be able to relate to my patients since I know what they are going through . In becoming a medical doctor I hope to provide strength and understanding to families along with a sense of hope. Through my chosen profession I trust that God will help keep me strong and together we can change lives if not save lives.

Cancer was a nightmare but in the end it became my miracle. It brought me closer to God, family, friends and taught me many things. Cancer taught me to believe in myself and reach for my goals. Cancer turned God’s light into a flame in my heart and melted me into the hard working and caring person I am today. Who knew that what I was destined to become would be revealed when I was eight.