Survivors of pediatric cancer overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to fight their cancer, regain their health and live a normal childhood. That’s why PCRF commits to improving the quality of life for those affected by pediatric cancer by offering annual scholarship awards to cancer warriors and survivors. We’d like you to meet another one of our 2018 PCRF Scholarship Awardees. Grace’s strength to overcome the most difficult obstacle any child should face inspires us. Grace lives up to her name in every sense of the word by maintaining her positive and uplifting personality despite being given the worst possible news.
“I was in dance class when I first noticed it. A person cannot really dance when her foot is going numb, or at least that was the best way my 5th grade, 10-year-old self would describe it. I was dancing and then all the sudden it came on; I abruptly lost all control of my right foot. After a week of these episodes, I decided to tell my parents. We scheduled an appointment with our local pediatrician, but when she could not find anything, she decided to send us to Children’s Hospital Colorado for further evaluation. After a very long day of tests, I was diagnosed with malignant brain tumor. The MRI scan revealed that there was a tumor about the size of a grape pressing on the “foot portion” of my brain – the culprit of my foot going “numb” problem.
During my treatment, I met my nurses Molly and Laura who have, in turn, inspired me to become a nurse. Their kindness and compassion toward me and other children had inspired me to do the same. My nurses helped me get through the tough chemotherapy and radiation, a feeding tube, more MRIs than I can count, a wheelchair and several surgeries.
The journey was rough, I’ll admit it, but I have become a better, more compassionate person from it.
While I was going through my treatment, I realized how many other kids needed help too. There was a whole floor of kids as sick or even more sick than I was. I wanted to do something to help, but at the time I was too sick.
When I went into remission a year-and-a-half later, I convinced my parents to help me start a 5K race dedicated to raising money for pediatric brain tumor research. I wanted to give back to the nurses and the doctors who helped save my life. About 750 people came to the first annual Grace’s Race 5K in 2013, and we raised $44,000! Since then, we have partnered with the Morgan Adams Foundation and have raised $228,000 in 5 years. All of the money I raise go through the Morgan Adam’s Foundation, directly to Dr. Nick Foreman, one of the top neuro-oncologists in the world. He uses the money to further his research into cures for pediatric brain cancer.
Through this experience I have learned that empathy is very important. The ability to understand what someone else is feeling, and to use compassion when talking to that person, is the best medicine. I would like to pursue nursing because of this reason. I have been inspired by my nurses to have the same kindness and compassion that they possess. When I go to college, The Morgan Adam’s Foundation will organize the race, and it will continue to raise money for pediatric brain tumor research as a legacy to what I have started.”
You have the power to help kids, like Grace, become cancer-free and live a healthy life beyond their diagnosis. Now is the time to become a vital part of advancing pediatric cancer research.