Client Spotlight: The Impact of Your Dollars
On February 29th, 2008, I was diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. You never forget the moment when you are told that you have cancer. For me, I was nine years old, sitting in a hospital room with this horrible wallpaper around me and my doctor came in, sat down and said to me “Heidi you have Leukemia, you have cancer.” Within a matter of seconds, I went from a child without a care in the world, to fighting for my life. I was admitted that night and started chemo two days after that. My protocol involved just under three years of intense chemotherapy. The easiest part of my treatment involved chemo every night, chemo in my port-a-cath every two weeks, bloodwork every two weeks, steroids five days a month, and chemo that was injected into my spine every month. I am very lucky and privileged to say that on Mother’s Day in 2010 I finished all of my treatments, and to this day I have been in complete remission. I think it is important to state that although I have lived through childhood leukemia, the chemotherapy I endured as a child has left long term side effects that I deal with everyday such as, heart damage, brain damage, bone damage, I will not be able to have children and I will have another cancer by the end of my life. The truth is, I am living with cancer. It is the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I go to bed. However, I wouldn’t change it for the world. People call me crazy when I say this, but I think cancer is actually a beautiful thing. Cancer is a thing that brings out the kindness, beauty and courage in every person it affects. I know the pain and the loss that cancer brings, I feel it every day, I’ve lost family members and to many friends to cancer. However, I am still thankful I had cancer because I would not be where I am today with the experiences that have come it. Now as a twenty-year-old student at Trent University, I use my experiences with cancer to make a difference in the world. I have worked with the Canadian Cancer Society as an inspirational speaker sharing my story across the province to show people that change is happening. I can tell my story today because of donors like you and organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society.