I Want To Talk About Michael

Wow, I cannot believe that Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is finally coming to a close! Most of you know that helping kids with cancer is the passion that fuels every decision I make and action I take. I am years away from (hopefully) becoming a pediatric oncologist, but I have the power to advocate and…

Cancer is a Journey, Not a Battle

I cringe every time I read or hear someone is “fighting cancer or battling cancer”. This language implies a war, which means there is a winner and a loser. I’m betting you know someone who died from cancer and you also know that person was anything but a loser. I realize it’s difficult to know…

When I Think of Michael

When I think of Michael, many of the images I have of him are often frozen in the seventh grade. That school year, by some stroke of luck, he, Bridget and I all had lockers next to each other. Everyday when I got to my locker, I could always count on Michael to greet me…

The Misleading Statistics

When I hear 90% cure rate for childhood cancers I want to scream or possibly throw up!  That stat is SO misleading.  That stat is talking about surviving 5 years.   Living with cancer for five years IS NOT CURING cancer!  Especially if you are 6 years old when you are diagnosed.  This steers research…

Reflections On My Hike

In the summer of 2015, before starting my third year at Pomona College, I decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. More specifically, I decided that a long walk along the western geological spine of the continental United States from Mexico to Canada was a goal that could not be left to slowly erode over…

Hands

Looking down at these hands of mine I see calluses rimmed with dirt dotting their landscapes, cuts and scabs joining my mountainous knuckles to the valleys in the topography of my palms, and vast clearing of exposed flesh encircling my nails. I see bloodied skin dangling from my right pointer finger from the time it…

Why is Tissue Not Sexy?

Denver is a great city… just not as “hippie/granola” as I pictured. We went for ISPNO… the International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology and came away feeling encouraged and excited that tissue donation is absolutely the right focus for Swifty.  ISPNO is held every other year and doctors and researchers from all over the world attend. …

Accepting Help From Others

I’ve been taught that when I am faced with a difficult situation, or when things don’t turn out as I would have liked, to ask myself, “What lesson am I supposed to learn from this?”  Since losing Michael it feels almost like a mantra…. There have been many lessons to learn and a particularly difficult…

That’s Your Boy

It’s Michael’s birthday week! To celebrate I want to share an AMAZING story with you that I still can’t believe happened. In the past several years I have been frequenting pediatric cancer conferences (should have been a STEM major not a CPA, but who knew?). At a meeting in August, the question discussed was how…