In March of 2014, I never imagined, nor did I understand at that time, that my life would be changed forever. How ironic that on April 1st, 2014, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma where tumors form and grow at an alarming, rapid pace which had already spread to my bone marrow and so I also had a secondary Leukemia. This was not an April fools’ joke ☹.
After the first chemotherapy session and several chemo treatments directly into my spine the doctors told my parents that my prognosis was good, but I still had a long journey ahead of me killing the little soldier cancer cells that were growing quickly in my body. The doctors were optimistic and even though I was confused, I remember people telling me I was going to be all better.
Today, I am a proud cancer Survivor! I am 14 years old in grade 9 at Harbord Collegiate Institute. My favourite sport is soccer, and I play it competitively for my team; Bryst Academy. My favourite movie is Avengers Infinity War, I’m a huge Marvel fan! My favourite book is The Outsiders as it shares the message of struggle and resilience and my favourite food is good ole Fried Chicken with a side of Mashed Potatoes.
Some of my favourite hobbies are watching Netflix, playing soccer, skateboarding, playing video games, messaging, and talking to my friends and family. We have a pet dog named Princess Leia (Inspired by the Star Wars character), and my biggest role models are my parents because they provide me with constant love and support and have taught me to cherish each day.
I am also fortunate to have my close cousins who are young, intelligent professionals guiding me throughout my life. And my aunts and uncle who I look up to because they are all hardworking and committed to their families. They always had my back, and I will never forget that.
I am determined and want to continue to raise awareness and push for more research. To find ways we can help people living with blood cancers see the hope in their futures. Our first light the night walk was in October of 2014. It was such a memorable night as I had over 100 family members and friends walking by my side, supporting this great cause. My family and I are committed to participating in this walk annually as a way for me to reflect on my own experience and to show that together we can make a difference.
You all know that I am a huge soccer fan so in the words of one of soccer’s greatest legends: “Ronaldo once said that if you want to achieve something you have to keep working hard and improve your capabilities!”