When I Grow Up, I Want To Find A Cure For Breast Cancer Because Of The Women In My Family

When I Grow Up, I Want To Find A Cure For Breast Cancer Because Of The Women In My Family

"Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever."


I would guess that everyone has been affected by breast cancer or at least knows someone that has. October is breast cancer awareness month and personally, it holds a very special place in my heart. My family's history with breast cancer stirred my passion for science.

My career goals are to improve cancer medicine and minimize side effects. I am very thankful that my family members survived but they still had to endure difficult and draining treatments. Their lives are forever changed because of this unruly thing we call cancer.

Cancer care is hard on patients and families. I was a little girl when my mom had cancer, but I vividly remember the events surrounding her treatment. My mom and grandma are both so inspiring to me because of the strength they showed and continue to show as breast cancer survivors. Cancer patients are fighters and go through things most people can't even imagine. Their scars are proof of their strength. Their battles are hard and often times long, so remember to support them. Even a small thing like picking up their children from school makes a difference.

In simple terms, cancer is uncontrolled cell growth. Normally, cells grow and replace old or damaged cells as needed. In the case that this process is messed up, cells may continue to form when they are not needed and a tumor may form. If a cancerous tumor breaks apart and travels to a different part of the body, it may form a new tumor.

Cancer cells are like extra greedy weeds. They grow fast and take all the nutrients from their surrounding cells. Your immune system basically works like Round-Up and goes through trying to weaken and kill bad cells. Some cancer cells can disguise themselves so they don't stand out to the immune system.

Cancer generally forms because of changes in our genes which change the way cells functions. Our genes are like an instruction manual that tells your body how to function. When there is a mistake in the genes it's like trying to create an assembly line but taking out the checkpoints. Your whole team is thrown off and mistakes occur. And the more you continue to use this broken process the more mistakes occur. The more times the messed up cells replicate, the bigger the tumor grows. These genetic changes can be caused by a variety of things, from age to environmental toxins.

When I tell people my dream job is working in oncology the number one question I get is "so do you think there is a cure?" This is such a hard question to answer. Ideally yes, I'd love for there to be a cure. But it's not that simple. All of the above things mentioned make cancer a very difficult thing to treat. It is very hard to find treatments that kill cancer cells without causing serious harm to your healthy cells.

No two tumors are the same, so there is no guarantee that a treatment will work for everyone. Every day we are making more groundbreaking discoveries. The life expectancies have drastically improved from what they use to be. Cancer care isn't just about treatment though. It spans from prevention all the way to survivor care.

If you have ever been by someone's side as they endured cancer treatments, you can see how difficult it is. This horrible disease takes children, parents, spouses, friends, and pets. Cancer does not discriminate. But the medical advancements don't either. It is so important to advocate for cancer research because with every step we could be saving someone's life.

"About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12.4%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime."

The earlier cancer is detected, the better the expected outcome. Please educate yourself on detection and prevention. Please do self-breast exams. I promise you, waiting until you are the recommended age to get mammograms isn't enough. Trust in the amazing medical teams we have in this country. And support your amazing survivors. Go to the walks, wear pink in October, send letters to the children's hospital, donate that extra dollar. Work towards making one in eight, none in eight.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.

Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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People Ask Why We THON, And This Is Why

Cancer cannot.



That is how much money was raised at THON 2019.

THON happens once a year at Penn State University. It is a 46-hour dance marathon. The dancers that participate in this event are not allowed to sit or sleep for the 46 hours. The event starts at 6:00 pm on Friday and the dancers are not allowed to sit until 4:00 pm on Sunday. This year there were over 500 dancers and the remaining students, about 16,000, took shifts of dancing for the 46 hours. During the time when these students are dancing, they are showing everyone what cancer cannot do. They are taking a stand.

That 10 million dollars that was raised goes to Four Diamonds. Four Diamonds is an organization that assists families that have a child with cancer so they do not have to pay a medical bill EVER.

All the money that is raised goes right to Four Diamonds to give to the families. I have seen first hand how amazing this gift is. When a family hears that their child has cancer, they do not want to start worrying about the medical bills that follow. From the lab tests to musical therapy, to hospital night stays, to the research to find a cure, that is where the money goes.

I had the privilege of attending THON this year and it was an amazing experience that I believe everyone should be a part of. It shows what cancer cannot do.

Cancer cannot take away kids.

Cancer cannot be a monster anymore.

Cancer cannot make people feel helpless.

Cancer cannot make people feel weak.

Cancer cannot have power.

That is why so many students participate.

That is why so much money was raised.

That is why these hundreds of families do not pay a single medical bill.

Every child is worth something.

Every person is worth a fight.

So I challenge you next year, to find a way to help THON 2020.

Because at the end of the day, it is all For The Kids.

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