30 DAYS/30 STORIES® 2021
14 years ago this month, my parents heard the words, “Your child has cancer”. From that day on, my family’s lives changed. My sister went to live with my aunt for a period of time, my mom spent her weekdays with me in the hospital, and my dad went to work during the week. Then he was at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on the weekends. When someone tells you that cancer is a family diagnosis, trust me, IT IS!
At the age of 21 months, I was diagnosed with PNET, Primitive Neuro-Ectodermal Tumor, in my brain and spine. For years, I went through many rounds of chemotherapy to keep my MRIs stable. December 12, 2017, was a day my family let out a sigh of relief. My treatments were FINISHED!! I don’t remember much of the beginning part of being in the hospital, but I am perfectly fine with that!
Even though I have ended my treatments, I still live with daily struggles. I have dealt with these struggles throughout my whole cancer journey. They are not easily noticed by others, which is nice by me. I have learned to deal with them on a daily basis, even though sometimes it can be challenging.
For many years now, PCFLV has been a part of my family’s life. We have attended many events over the years. We have also made many memories and friends along the way.
I am currently the Vice President of the PCFLV Teen Board. I have also been a counselor for the past 3 years at Camp Smile. Also, during the summer, I spend a lot of my time volunteering at the PCFLV office. It brings me joy knowing that I can help kids who are going through what I went through.
From the scar down my back to the scar where my port used to be accessed, to the trips to CHOP, I am constantly reminded that I had cancer. My cancer journey was made easier by the support of my family and friends and PCFLV. So to all who have supported me along the way, THANK YOU!!!
Written by Vanessa, age 15
Please consider donating in Vanessa’s honor to support PCFLV's mission.
Please also consider helping local kids with cancer by donating blood at Miller-Keystone Blood Center: