My first experience with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital was when I was 18 months old, after having been diagnosed with Retinoblastoma. It is a rare form of cancer that rapidly develops from the immature cells of a retina and is usually diagnosed before the age of 3. My memories of this cancer are brief and scattered due to my age, but my second experience is etched in my memory. When I was in 5th grade at St. Mary's, I was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare cancer where the infected cells are found in bone. Throughout my treatments, everyone at St. Jude was incredibly friendly and caring, not only to me, but also to my family. They did everything in their power to make me as comfortable and as happy as possible. St. Jude is a special place, not only because their cancer research has made many breakthroughs in increasing the childhood cancer survival rates but also because no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude. St. Jude is an incredibly positive and supportive place for children, and I was lucky to have access to their life-saving research and treatment.
As a St. Mary's student, my teachers tutored me throughout my treatment at St. Jude to prevent me from having to repeat the school year. As a result, I will graduate with the rest of my class in 2020. My class was unbelievably kind and supportive during this time of my life, and I am very thankful for them! I'm grateful to have both St. Mary's and St. Jude in my life.
Class of 2020 (9th grade)