How cancer has affected my life.

Author:Bialas, Crystal
 
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Obtaining an education at college is a golden opportunity, and NDTA has been helping my dream come true with their much-appreciated scholarship! A survivor of three brain tumors (with delicate, life-threatening surgeries at ages 3, 6, and 11), I am blessed to attend college. My goals are high (for me): become a Kindergarten teacher so I can teach children on a daily basis. I long to make this dream a reality!

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My brain tumors have impacted my life, and my family. Unfortunately, this past Spring (2009), I had another relapse, and was back in the hospital for a lengthy period of time; however, each setback be-comes a challenge for me to keep moving forward. From endless doctor visits and countless MRIs to numerous sessions of radiation and to life-long medications, I'm sincerely appreciative of my current abilities. I've lost more than one-third of my peripheral vision, have hearing and memory concerns, lost my smelling ability, and have hormonal deficiencies (impacting my growth, urinary, and "female" cycles). I had even lost my eyesight completely for three days after my first brain tumor operation--definitely a trying experience.

However, I've learned to accept these adversities and turned to volunteering at the YMCA, Woodstock Elementary School, the Recreation Center, and the Library. Additionally, I assist at Special Love (a camp for children with cancer and their families), in addition to participating at Cure Search, lobbying Congress for cancer research for children annually in Washington, DC, even having met Senator Warner and having my picture in the paper with him! I also participate in numerous Relay for Life events, including locations in Chesapeake (at the Community Park and at the Middle School), Norfolk (at Old Dominion University and Virginian Wesleyan University), and Virginia Beach (at the Oceana Naval Base and at Red Wing Park). I assisted with the SMILE Project (Students Making it a Little Easier), assisting children with Arts and Crafts at the Children's Hospital of the Kings Daughter (CHKD) and participated in a Radiothon at CHKD--that sure was a lot of fun! Most of all, I enjoy being Santa's helper on an annual basis; this year I helped out at the YMCA, at the Batangas Club, and at the United Illicano Association of Tidewater (UIAT) as Santa's helper (my dad was Santa)--definitely lots of fun with the children!

For my efforts, I received the Channel 10 Young Achiever award and the Young Old United...

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