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Katie’s Story: Patient to Doctorate


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 is committed to improving the quality of life for those affected by pediatric cancer by offering annual scholarship awards to cancer warriors and survivors.

PCRF Survivors Scholarship Awardee: Katie

We’re so incredibly inspired by Katie’s story to overcome the most difficult obstacle any child should face. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 9. We’re happy to report that she continues to do well and is on her way to becoming a clinical psychologist, a career inspired by her journey with cancer. Her dream is to work closely with children and families fighting serious illnesses to cope and better navigate their circumstances.

Katie’s Story:

“I am currently a first-year student at Case Western Reserve University, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Childhood Studies. I am participating in my school’s integrated graduate studies program, which will allow me to graduate in 4 years with a Master’s degree. I then plan to continue to obtain a Ph.D. or PsyD in Clinical Psychology. With this degree, I really want to serve as a support system for children and families who have been affected by cancer and I believe that my experience with cancer can help me help these kids in a really unique way. While at school, I spend a lot of my time getting involved with community service through Camp Kesem and Project Sunshine. Camp Kesem is a national nonprofit organization that hosts free summer camps all over the country for children whose parents have been affected by cancer. Project Sunshine is a club that volunteers at Rainbow Babies Children’s Hospital, which is just off-campus. I am also a member of the sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and I work as a campus tour guide!

Funding pediatric cancer research is so important because it can allow millions of children to live happier and healthier lives. The amount of progress we have made up until this point has saved so many lives and allows children to experience so many wonderful opportunities throughout their lifetime. I often think back on everything I have been able to do upon completing chemotherapy eight years ago, and it reminds me of how grateful I am for my team of doctors and nurses, and all of the medical researchers that worked effortlessly to find effective cancer treatments. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to do all that I have done up until this point in my life. With continuous effort, we can find ways to make cancer treatment less invasive and traumatic so that children don’t have to worry about fighting for their life, and they can simply be kids again. 

To me, hope is the one thing we can always hang on to during difficult times; it keeps us grounded and in tune with ourselves. It also allows us to push through different obstacles and help us to develop a better understanding of ourselves and our impact on others. It can bring us together and inspire us to make a difference in our communities. With the fear and uncertainty that people are currently facing all over the world, it is important to have hope and know that we will all get through this together, one step at a time.

I am so grateful to have received a scholarship from PCRF! Thank you so much for supporting me and my education. It truly means so much to me.”

You have the power to help kids, like Katie, 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.