Children with cancer hope for the same things that healthy children hope for – to grow up and have a long, healthy life. 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. At PCRF, we believe in giving hope and futures and thanks to research, these kids are able to do just that! We’d like you to meet our 2017 PCRF Scholarship Awardees. We’re so incredibly inspired by their stories of strength, courage and resiliency. Whether it be on the field or in the classroom, Clayton lives with determination – and made sure a cancer diagnosis would never take that away from him.
“I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at the age of thirteen. My initial response was fear – mainly because I could see the worry in my parent’s eyes. The only experience I had with cancer was my grandfather who did not survive. My mom and dad did a great job of trying to hide that fear. When we met with the oncologist, I had no idea of the ride I was about to begin. I don’t know if I had some type of divine insight, but right from the beginning I never had any doubt about beating cancer. Having a strong faith and a great support group helped me to keep a positive attitude during the journey. I have always been known for having a “never give up” attitude. However, this was a fight that I severely underestimated.
I had good days and bad days. Laughter followed by sadness, followed by sickness, followed by boredom became the cycle that repeated itself. I really learned to cherish each moment. I learned how to truly live in the present, the past is gone and the future is unknown.
After the first cycle of chemotherapy was complete, my pain went away instantaneously. I was very blessed when it came to side effects compared to other fighting cancer. The only side effects that I experienced were nausea and hair loss. The biggest effect of treatment came from the surgery to remove the tumor in my left shoulder. The surgeon told me that I would no longer be able to throw left handed since the surgery would remove my rotator cuff muscles. This was the most devastating news I heard because baseball was my life, I had played since I was 4 and it was my passion.
I had a choice – let cancer dictate the course or overcome and take back control.
I was determined to play baseball again and not to let cancer steal my passion. That’s when I decided I would teach myself to play baseball right handed. The goal was to make my high school baseball team. Tryouts were 300 days away and I needed to get started. I was told that it would take around 30,000 repetitions to retrain my body to make the switch. A quick calculation and I had a plan. I needed to throw 100 baseballs a day, every day until tryouts. Everywhere I went, I took my glove and a ball. I would ask friends, family, or anyone else willing to play catch. If I couldn’t find someone I would throw against a brick wall.
My freshman year I made the team as a right handed outfielder. I made the varsity team as a sophomore and was just voted Second Team All-Conference this season.
Cancer stole a lot from my childhood, but it did not get baseball. I was able to overcome this obstacle and by doing so, I found out what hard work and determination could do.”
You have the power to help kids, like Clayton, live out their passion. Help us continue our fight to find a cure.