30 DAYS/30 STORIES® 2023
Lucky, blessed, and thriving are just a few words that I believe describe my journey and where I am today. You might be asking yourself how I consider myself lucky or blessed. The answer is that I started my journey by being diagnosed at the age of 21 months. With that being said, I don’t really remember all of my early treatment, hospital stays or my family's lives changing for months. I feel blessed to be here today writing this story with a very supportive and loving family who have been with me on this journey for the past 16 years. To me, I feel as though I am thriving because I am entering my senior year of high school, I have been off chemotherapy since 2017, and I’m applying to college which is something that I would've never thought to be possible when I was younger due to daily medical needs that I choose to keep to myself.
Looking back at my journey and where I am today, PCFLV has been a major source of support to my family and me. We have participated in many activities through the foundation over the years including Camp Smile, the annual run/walk, and various afternoon/evening programs. Through these various activities and events I, along with my family, have made many friends who we are able to connect with over topics that not everyone can relate to.
PCFLV has given me a lot over the years, and I believe that it is my turn to give back. Every year for the past few years, I have been a Camp Smile counselor. I look forward to this week every year, because I am able to watch kids forget about the diagnosis and help them just be kids. I am also currently serving as the President of the Teen Board for PCFLV. Serving in this role allows me to help fundraise for the foundation while also learning life-long skills.
Being diagnosed with cancer has certainly changed my life. It may seem weird to say, but I believe that it was for the better since it has turned me into a fighter!
Written by Vanessa
Please consider helping children with cancer and others in our community by scheduling a blood donation at Miller-Keystone Blood Center: https://donor.giveapint.org/donor/schedules/zip