This is our latest Hero, as she is one of the 2019 Herbies Heroes Scholarship winners and her winning essay is below.
You can ask me what I think about times when cancer has affected my life, and I can’t tell you in under 500 words or less, but I can summarize. My life changed when my five year old cousin got leukemia. Even though I was about 12 years old, we were as close as could be. My entire family spent five months visiting him at the hospital. Some days he would be his playful normal self and some days he would be completely different, chemo completely changed him.
When he would be able to come home, we’d throw parties. But one day he had a relapse and everything went downhill. The last month was the most painful for him and that’s when I saw him less. As he got worse I couldn’t stand seeing him that way. Eventually, my family decided to allow him to pass so the suffering could stop.
His death changed my life because I lost someone I’d known his entire life and we had spent so much time together. There will always be an empty spot in my heart. I’ve learned how to not be angry at cancer because it’s just a fact of life. Many things happen for a reason and it’s God’s way of working. And I’m still thankful for the experiences shared with my cousin and the fun we had together.
I will be starting this summer in the University of North Florida and I am going to major in nursing. I would like to make a change by being supportive. Seeing how pediatric nurses changed my cousin’s life is way beyond words. I know it is very tough for children and adults so I would like to change that by showing more compassion to not only the kids but adults as well.
I believe doctors focus more on curing rather than patient well-being which is why I’m drawn to the support system of nursing. I’ve already received my CNA license and I’ve seen on how nursing assistants really make a change in someone’s life.
Taking care of patients in the nursing home and the hospital during my clinicals really change my perspective of people. Not everyone is perfect, but a small start will make something go so far. I will most likely keep going further than just caring, I will know exactly how it feels to have a loved one with cancer and have gained a greater perspective. I’ve also worked with the Bryant strong foundation and visiting children and doing toy drives, arts and crafts, and girly “makeovers.” All of this has shaped me into the better person I am today!