Meet our scholar recipients

Being a survivor is finding the joy in the smell of rain on the pavement, the peace in the drama, knowing the importance of family, and seeing miracles in everyday moments.

Survivorship means seeing the world differently and being presented with new opportunities and responsibilities. It’s facing death and finding deep strength, courage and resiliency to persevere. Being a survivor is finding the joy in the smell of rain on the pavement, the peace in the drama, knowing the importance of family, and seeing miracles in everyday moments. It’s embracing every waking moment and living in the present and truly embracing all that life has to offer, whether it is the good, the bad, or the ugly. It means never taking anything for granted because life is not guaranteed and being alive with the ability to experience new things in a way no one else can because life is a privilege. It’s finding the strange in the familiar and accepting the differences in life.

However, survivorship also means waking up in hot sweats as nightmares rack pleasant dreams. It means living in constant fear of recurrence as quarterly scans approach, the possibility of cancer lurking in your body. Every ache and every pain is analyzed as something darker.

Being a survivor is becoming part of a community where your friends remain locked in the hospital receiving treatments that torture their innocent bodies. It’s the helpless feeling of survivor’s guilt as you are left wondering why you are the one that survived while so many others have died.

Survivorship means living way outside of your comfort zone and learning to be comfortable with that. Accepting that tomorrow is not guaranteed but seeing how amazing today is. For me, there had to be a reason why I survived stage four bone cancer, an explanation to help combat the guilt I felt for making my family endure the horrendous things cancer came with like the endless hospital stays, the crippling talks about death, and the uncertainty of the future.

Instead of feeling helpless I started feeling empowered. As a cancer patient I often had few choices, as a survivor I could share my story and make a difference. I realized how as a survivor I could provide hope and inspiration to cancer patients and their families as well as raise awareness for childhood cancer. As a survivor I did not have to turn my back against my fellow cancer fighters, but rather I could join them in the ongoing fight against this monstrous disease.

Volunteering became a way to make sense of my survivorship and to express myself and process what it is like to be 16 years old and fighting for your life. It has been a never-ending light shed on this entire situation, something positive. Being a survivor is so empowering and being able to help make a change for others is even more amazing. I have found a strength and determination I didn’t know I had. Being a survivor, means I have the responsibility of impacting our current society and pushing for change to help children and families combating cancer. I have had the humbling opportunity to speak both nationally and locally to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research.

Being a cancer survivor means embracing the ups and downs life offers and facing each challenge with a fiery intensity to thrive in any given situation with an optimistic outlook and with a new found strength and determination. It means not allowing fear to dictate my actions. it means taking control of my life and making a difference. Having been down the darkest paths, I can accept the curveballs life throws my way with pride, confidence and determination because I am a survivor. Furthermore, being a survivor has helped me live a life with no regrets and a life filled with purpose and hope.