Before he had passed the one-year mark, Ethan Krol had already become “a member of a community no one expects to be a part of” – or as his aunt affectionately put it, “an official cancer butt kicker.”
Ethan was diagnosed with a Germ Cell Tumor when he was just 11 months old and began a series of long days at Lurie Children’s Hospital. He became the first Junior Ambassador at Relay for Life of Jane County and it was participation in this yearly reunion to grieve, to hope and to walk together that he found particularly moving.
“I was given a purple shirt, signifying that I was a survivor and walked a track lined with luminaries dedicated to loved ones,” Ethan explained in his scholarship essay. “I carried a banner dotted with handprints from other purple shirtwearers, but as my mom tells me, I also realized that my handprint was smaller than all the others.”
Ethan continued to explain, “Every June I proudly wore a purple shirt at Relay for Life. Every year, more kids joined–while it sadly meant that more lives had been impacted by cancer, it also meant that they had found support and community. I want others to know that even kids who haven’t had the experience of celebrating their first birthday can know the harsh realities of battling cancer. This is why I will always continue the fight.”
Today Ethan is attending the University of Florida and studying Computer Science and Aerospace Engineering.