Survivors Celebrate

Scholarship Winners Celebrate Survival…

…in their own words

“Cancer has impacted my life because it has taught me the importance of contributing to the fight against it.  I have had to go through many things because of leukemia and I have shed many tears but it has given my life reason, taught me the importance to fight against cancer, and opened my eyes to all the beautiful things of life.”

—  Leticia Ayala, survivor of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age 15, fashion design student

“With all the dreadful treatments that I went through, even today, I look back and continue to see this as a positive experience.  Without it, I would never have learned and seen the things that have shaped a whole new perspective on life for me.  When everything seemed as if it was against me, I was still confident in my ability to overcome a huge obstacle in my life.”

— Drake Baker, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor at age 16, astrophysics student

“Having cancer gave me a sense of urgency to not just sit around and wait for opportunities to find me, but to be proactive and work diligently toward my goals.  I believe that if I let cancer take hold of my dreams, ambition and positivity I would be doing a disservice to all the people that did lose their lives to cancer, like my father.”

— Alexandra Cunha, Thyroid cancer survivor at age 18, accelerated nursing program student

“I may not have known when I was thirteen that cancer would impact my life in a positive way, that it would open up new possibilities for me… but I have learned that sometimes God has a plan for our lives we don’t understand at the time.  I have found a new normal and am grateful for the direction my life has taken, especially the true friendships I have and knowing what is important in life… Cancer is not something I would want for anyone.  I know too many kids and adults sadly are not as lucky as I am to be a survivor, but as I grew as a person in this journey, cancer turned into something strangely beautiful.”

– Annika Dybevik, Ewing’s Sarcoma survivor at age 13, studying musical theater/broadcasting/public event planning

Speaking on his friendship with Lance Armstrong: “Lance taught me it was about making a difference – helping others get through what we went through and giving them support that is so desperately needed when you are diagnosed with cancer.  He taught me that I have cancer, cancer does not have me.  He taught me that I am stronger than my cancer.  Most importantly, Lance taught me that one person can truly make a difference.”

– Jimmy Fowkes, four-time survivor medulloblastoma, religious studies student

 

“While cancer treatment was a horrible experience to have, it completely changed my life for the better.”

–Samantha Loch, medulloblastoma survivor at 15, psychology student

 

 

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