Meet our Scholars

Years Awarded:

"Survivorship should not be based on living or dying. Survivorship should be based on how hard you fight the cancer when you are living."

The human brain cannot comprehend what it has not been through. Rare things, such as cancer, are hard to comprehend. The word survivor is define by Webster’s Dictionary as, “a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died.” To a cancer survivor, the word means much more than the dictionary delineation. It is like someone referring to a cancer survivor as someone who “won their battle.” A cancer patient dying does not automatically mean that they lost their battle. To me survivorship, or “winning the battle,” is based on how you choose to live your life while you are still taking treatment and fighting the disease. If you keep a positive attitude and a positive outlook on life throughout your time of illness then you have indeed survived.

Since being diagnosed in 2015, I have been chosen to attend two Sunshine Kids trips. The Sunshine Kids Foundation takes kids with cancer on all-expense paid trips all over the United States. Through this organization I have had the opportunity to meet dozens of fighters and survivors like myself. I have gotten to see the difference between winning and losing a battle while still living. Dade, for example, was eleven years-old when I met him two years ago in Los Angeles, California. He was a two-time survivor at the time. He was full of energy and very talkative. Since arriving back home Dade relapsed two more times. On January 12, 2018 Dade passed away from a cancer he had been battling since he was three years old. The article that was written about him said that he “finally lost his battle.” Dade Cannon did not lose anything. He lived his life to the fullest in the thirteen years that he was given. He left a legacy behind. People who create legacies do not lose battles. Dade won his battle because he did not let his cancer keep him from doing what he wanted to do.

The day you are diagnosed, you have to make a decision. Before you even know what the odds are of living, you have to make the decision. Are you going to let this beat you? When I was diagnosed, the first thing I thought was, “I can’t die.” From that day on I have reminded myself to stay positive no matter what. There were days when I told myself there’s no way I can be positive today. There were days where I let the cancer get the best of me. I had to constantly tell myself that you have to go through the storm to get to the rainbow. While I was sick and undergoing treatment I continued to do the things that I loved. I went to tumbling class, I was the school team mascot (and rocked it), I attended camps, and I still went to school. Though it was hard, I pushed through it. I saw the finish line and I ran for it at full speed. To this day, I continue to share my cancer story with others. I speak at events and camps where people may not know the importance of helping someone with cancer and I do community service projects pertaining to cancer awareness.

Survivorship should not be based on living or dying. Survivorship should be based on how hard you fight the cancer when you are living. Every day that you have cancer, but still have a positive attitude, you are surviving. Those who have never faced cancer will not understand the density of the term “survivor.” They automatically assume that when a cancer patient dies they have lost their battle. Their minds simply do not understand what they have not experienced.