Let me start with a little background. As January approached during my junior year of high school in 2011, I started to develop periodic episodes of nausea and vomiting. I was under the impression that it was either from something I ate or it was just my body being affected by flu like symptoms. The episodes started to become more and more frequent until I eventually was no longer able to attend school for weeks at a time. These symptoms were not disappearing as I had once hoped and prayed. Therefore, I endured days upon days of tests that involved MRI’s, X-rays, blood work, and tissue samples. By the time March rolled around, I was no longer attending school; I was months behind in my classes and I missed my friends beyond belief. I needed this to stop, but to my disbelief that relief did not come. I had hoped to get my “sickness” under control over the following months so I could go back to being a normal student and continue to maintain a regular life as senior year approached.
During these summer months of preparation for senior year, I would still have continuous setbacks that drove me insane. But I still managed to carry a sense of hope as these setbacks continued to occur. This optimism continued to supply relief in my daily life until one unpleasant day in July. On this particular day I had the unfortunate pleasure of vomiting over 25 times. My body hurt, my throat ached, and I couldn’t imagine myself recovering anytime soon. This was the moment that I realized I was going to be fighting this illness for a very long time. I knew that the road ahead was going to be long and agonizing, filled with high points and low points that would forever change my way of life.
As time progressed, I regressed. Over the next year I would lose my hearing for weeks at a time, I’d black out for no apparent reason finding myself at the bottom of the stairs with a gash in my head, and I would lay in bed hopelessly as I waited for my next visit to the Mayo Clinic to have more tests and procedures done. Although this seems like a turn for the worst, this has helped me find myself and overcome difficult times with the help of family, friends, and faith.
As I sit here and write this, I don’t have the intention of bringing feelings of sympathy or grief to you, but solely to inform you that there are children dealing with much worse that could use our help. Therefore, through these events came the creation of Holding HOPE. At Holding HOPE, we strive to create a sense of normality in the lives of children with cancer. We make every effort to put a smile on the faces of those battling cancer down at Mayo Clinic, while also bringing them a sense of support from the outside world. We believe that HOPE can do great things for those in need.