Hi! My name is Lindsay! I’m 12 years old, I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, my favorite book is The Hunger Games, I’m a Wisconsin Badgers fan, and, when I was three, I was diagnosed with Leukemia. I’m here today to share my story, but my story doesn’t end with cancer, that’s just the beginning of it.
I spent about six months in the hospital. I don’t remember a lot of it, but I do remember some. There were things that made me happy. My favorite nurse, Nurse Carrie. I remember how much I loved playing with my cars, especially Lightning McQueen and Sally. At night, my parents would break the rules and let me go into the halls to play. But I also remember when I stopped eating, and the doctors gave me a feeding tube. Nurse Michelle shoved it down my nose. I felt like I was choking. I hated it.
Once I was out of the hospital, cancer continued to affect my life. It never came back, and so far, I haven’t had any complications, but, to this day, it is part of who I am. Right after I got out of the hospital, my parents were still worried, and they had a right to be. They would rush me to the doctor over very minor things. I learned to kind of just go with it. It was just another part of life.
When I was about four, my family started participating in more fundraising activities. My dad started doing St. Baldrick’s. When I was in second grade, my mom did her first marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Cancer didn’t just affect where I went, and what my parents did, though. It started affecting what I did, too. In third grade, we had a project on the body. I did mine on Leukemia.
In fourth grade, though, cancer really started to affect me. I did my first fundraising event, and I was top fundraiser. That was a turning point in my life. I realized that I did not want to be an actress, as I had thought previously, but a pediatric oncologist. I wanted to help patients and parents go through the struggles my family went through. I wanted to make a difference in the world. Fourth grade was also the year I started swimming competitively, which helped to bring out the warrior in me.
Last year, I did Just Tryan It for the first time. I’d already done other triathlons, but this was going to be the longest one I’ve ever done. The swim-I wasn’t worried about. I’m a year-round swimmer. The run-okay. Little nervous, but pretty confident. No, it was the bike I was worried about. Five miles. Yeah, I was pretty nervous. But at the same time, I knew I could do it. I knew I was just having pre-race jitters. Also, I knew that, “Hey! I’d beat Leukemia when I was three… I think I can do a triathlon now.” And then when I woke up on race day, and my mom said, “You’ve raised over $3,000.” I knew I’d made a difference. It felt amazing!
So this year, I made my goal one dollar over last year’s total. About a month ago, I hit that goal. I was really, really proud of myself. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I hadn’t had cancer.
That’s key. I couldn’t and wouldn’t have done a lot of good things if it weren’t for cancer. So, yeah, it’s sad that I had it, but I’m not super upset about it. It’s made me a better person. I kind of thank cancer for a lot of my qualities. I’m not saying cancer isn’t a big problem-it is. But it has helped make good people. I’m eight years cancer-free. I have no restrictions. But other kids aren’t so lucky. Out of all the kids diagnosed with cancer in the US and Canada, 1 in 5, will not survive. 2 out of 3 of the kids who do will have long term disabilities such as learning disabilities, hearing loss, heart disease, infertility, and secondary cancers. It is the kids still fighting, and kids still medically affected who should be honored the most. Their stories, are just getting started.
Read Lindsay’s Star profile at: http://justtryanit.com/story/lindsay-home-chapel-hill/