Meet our scholar recipients
"anyone on treatment should focus on the positives and look toward the future when things aren't perfect at the moment."
Liz expects nothing but the best from herself whether in the classroom or on the playing field. She excelled in high school with over a 4.0 GPA and played on her school’s varsity soccer, swim and softball teams. Her remarkable drive to succeed made Liz stand out in all areas of her life, so when she began to fall behind at soccer practice it was obvious to everyone around her something was amiss. Without any obvious reason as to why she could no longer keep up, Liz’s parents took her to the doctor, hoping for some answers. Her pediatrician couldn’t find anything apparently wrong, but ordered blood work just in case. The tests resulted in a diagnosis that Liz and her parents were shocked to hear – Liz had leukemia.
The side effects from her chemotherapy forced Liz to stop playing sports and sit out the rest of her junior year. Even though cancer had Liz sidelined during that soccer season, her team played the remainder of the year in her honor. To show their support, Liz’s teammates wore green headbands which represents leukemia awareness and wrote the word “fight” on their wrists at each game. Their dedication didn’t stop on the field; they visited Liz after games and practices along with taking turns bringing dinner to her family. Every second of their games were played with Liz in mind and served as a reminder that life can be unpredictable.
Determined to graduate on time, Liz was tutored over the summer before her senior year. “I really wanted to graduate with all of my friends, so I worked really hard to catch up,” said Liz. “All of my classmates really respected me for how hard I worked and supported me all year long.”
Two years after her diagnosis Liz now plans to attend Sacred Heart University and pursue a degree in physical therapy. She believes her experience as a cancer survivor will enable her to comfort and encourage other patients. Liz advises that “anyone on treatment should focus on the positives and look toward the future when things aren’t perfect at the moment.” College is the next step in Liz’s life journey, where she plans to excel even more… because she is a survivor.