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When life gives you lemons, you’re expected to make lemonade. Since the summer of 2015, life has been pelting me with the most rancid of lemons when my younger brother Diego was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Somehow I had to honor my commitment and show up to work the next day as a camp counselor to love and support dozens of healthy and happy kids doing the fun, youthful activities my brother would never again do. Not only did the news wreck what was supposed to be an amazing summer, but it also defaced the following school year.
My junior year was my most exhausting year by far. It typically is for many students across the country, but for my two triplet siblings and I, it was not as academically challenging as it was personally. I constantly caught myself mentally calculating how to “cure” Diego with the not so vast knowledge I had obtained from watching Grey’s Anatomy and taking honors biology. I was regularly conflicted on what to prioritize. Do I choose solitarily trying to keep my grades up or watching cartoons with my medically erratic brother? It might seem like an obvious answer, family comes first, right? Yet with the high standards of Weston High School mixed with my dreams of being a successful doctor, the decision quickly became more opaque.
Even now, almost 4 years after his passing, any intimation that triggers a memory of him is still poignant, but it simultaneously helps me push myself out of my melancholy state and focus in and concentrate on my goals. My brother's disease went from an academic interference to the reason I want to pursue higher levels of education. I have always been drawn to children, maybe because I am one at heart, but after seeing the immediate and collateral effects of cancer firsthand, I discovered that I can help others and spend time with children while incorporating my passion for science and medicine by becoming a pediatric oncologist.
Join us in our commitment to turn childhood dreams into reality by supporting THON. This year, I am taking action by uniting with 16,500 student volunteers and over 25,000 alumni supporters in the fight against childhood cancer. Our year-long efforts culminate in a 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon each February to celebrate our survivors, remember those we’ve lost, and take a stand--all in hopes of one day dancing in celebration of a cure.
Throughout the year, I will be fundraising to benefit THON in an effort to provide outstanding financial and emotional support and spread THON’s mission world-wide. It is my hope that one day, every child will have the opportunity to live out their dreams.
Since 1977, THON has raised over $157 million for Four Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital, providing comprehensive care for 4,000 families and fund critical research to take our fight beyond central Pennsylvania and spread hope around the world. We work year-round to provide both financial and emotional support for our families, ensuring that they never have to face cancer alone.
I truly appreciate any support you provide, either by making a donation or by sharing my page on social media to spread THON’s mission.