Realizing Futures

2017 PCRF Scholarship Awardee: Diann

Ambassador Diann

What makes each one of our 2017 PCRF Scholarship Awardees unique is their extraordinary stories of bravery. They have hope and dreams for the future made possible by the great research funded by you.

2017 Scholarship Awardee: Diann

We’d like you to meet Diann, a cancer survivor who is compassionate in every sense of the word.


“How has my life not been impacted by cancer is really the question. From when I get out of bed to the moment I go to sleep, cancer constantly affects me. Not all the time though in negative ways like you would expect.

Cancer has taught me so much about life. It has taught me how to fight, how to have hope, and how to have faith.

Cancer also sets me apart from everyone. I am no ordinary 18-year-old teenage girl. I may look average, but not everyone knows my story.

At the age of 5, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I underwent chemotherapy and countless trips to the hospital. Going through multiple procedures, chemotherapy, and countless hospital visits may have weakened my body, but never my spirit.

People are who they are because of what they’ve gone through. My experience with cancer has sculpted and molded me into the person I am today; a person who wants to further my education and strive to reach my academic and career goals. My goal is to become a teacher so I may influence and help young children like my teachers did for me while I was sick. I plan on majoring and studying Child and Adolescent Development in the fall at California State University, Fullerton. I then play on getting my credential after I complete my Bachelor’s degree, followed by my Master’s.

Without going through diagnosis, I don’t know where I would be today. To say the least, I would be lost. I could be writing this essay telling you my story about how awful my childhood was and how I spent all my free time, as a kid, just trying to gain strength. However, that’s not at all what I’m going to do. Being diagnosed with cancer has been one of the most life-changing things that have ever happened in my life.

At the moment I had been diagnosed, it was an extremely hard time for my family, but now, all I see is how I’ve grown. I have become the person I want to be because of cancer and for that, I am grateful. I’ve become stronger, more courageous, more confident, and more independent. I’m not scared to stand up and tell my story anymore. I have a voice and I can be heard, all because of what cancer has given me. It may seem odd that I view cancer in the way that I do now. Don’t get me wrong — cancer is a horrible thing for anyone to have to go through. No one should have to be told by a doctor ever again they’ve been diagnosed with cancer. 

Despite the fact that cancer may have impacted me, I’ve impacted cancer a lot more.”

You have the power to help kids, like Diann, become cancer-free and live a healthy life beyond their diagnosis. Help us continue our fight to find a cure.

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When you are young and healthy, it never occurs to you that in a single second your whole life could change. – Annette Funicello