Honorable Mention Winner- Andre Sobel Award 2011


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Honorable Mention Winner- Andre Sobel Award 2011

  1. 1. Y ou A re Aylw ard Pat rick 2011 el re So b orab le Me ntionAnd ard Aw Hon
  2. 2. A bo ut     On   the   surface,   Patrick   is   the   stereotypical   eighteen   year-­‐old:   A   vibrant  young  man  ready   to  take  on   the  rigorous  demands   of  college  life.  Yet,  four  years  ago,   his   stereotypical   existence   was   shattered   the   day   he   was   diagnosed   with  Acute  Lymphoblastic  Leukemia.     “When   I   first   found   out   I   was   sick,   I   was   in   denial.   It   was   surreal,”   said  Patrick.  The   medical   professionals   at  Yale-­‐New   Haven   Hospital   in   Connecticut  were  quick  to   take   action.  “The  support  from  the   medical  staff  made  my  illness  tolerable,”  notes  Patrick.   “They  are  apart  of   my  family  now   because  you  cannot  go   through   an   ordeal   such   as   cancer   and  not  be   thankful   for  all   that  they   did  to  help  me  get  better.”  When  asked  what  advice  he  had   for  others   who  were  going  through  an   illness,  he  said  to  remain  patient  and  remember  that   it  is  only   a   small  fraction  of  your  life.   Thanks  to   the  support  of  his  family  and  the   care  he  received  at  Yale-­‐New  Haven  Hospital,  Patrick  is  now  is  remission   and  “loving  life.”  Currently  a  freshman  attending   St.  Mary’s   College  of  Maryland,  Patrick  plans   on   pursuing   a  degree   in  Political   Science.   He   is   looking   forward  to   what   this   next   chapter  in   life   has   in  store  for  him.    
  3. 3. Es sayWhat  an  Everyday  Person  Should  Know  About  an  Adolescents  Cancer  Journey  to  Health           Now  that  I  have  finally  finished  my  long   journey  of  going   from   a  cancer  patient   to  a  cancer  survivor,   I   feel   that   I   should   share   some   of   my   insider   knowledge   about   what   you   REALLY  should  know  about  an  adolescents  road  to  survival.          What   you  need  to   understand  is  that   cancer  is  not  just   a  disease.    Cancer  is  a  lifestyle  that  you   must   bow   to   until   it   is   literally   out   of   your   body.     What   I   mean   by   this   is   that   from  the  second  the  doctor  diagnoses  you,  cancer  is  all   that   is  ever  on  your  mind   from  the  second   you  wakeup   until  the  time  you  fall  asleep.    And  if  you  are  lucky,  its  not  also  while  you  are  sleeping.    I  want   to  make  it  clear   that   this   is  not  just   because  you   are  scared;  this  is  because   every  person  you   see   will   ask   you   about   your   cancer,   any   activity   that   you   plan   will   be   affected   by   your  cancer,  and   even  THOUGHTS  are   affected   by   your  cancer.    At   one  point,  instead   of   thinking   of  myself   as  a  teenage  boy,  I  thought  of  myself  only  as  a  cancer  kid.     In   my  eyes,   this  right  here  is  the  number   one   cause   of   setbacks   in   cancer   patients,   because   if   you   start   to   get   a   negative  mindset,   your   body  reacts   to   that   in  the  same  negative   way.    Keeping  a   positive   attitude  is  a  cancer  patients  full  time  job.           If   you   think   that   going   through   cancer   would   be   a   time   that   strengthens   all   of   your  relationships  with   your  friends  and  family,   you  are  sorely  mistaken.    Yes  this  is  true   for   some   of  your  relationships,   and  truly  does   show  who  your  closest  friends   are,  but  you  are  also  going  to  see  that  some   people   who  you  though  were  your  closest   friends  just   disappear.    This   is   when  you   see  that   cancer   patients  are   mentally  some   of   the  strongest   people  on   this   planet.     Not  only  must   they  deal  with   the  mental   stress  of  fighting  for   their  life,  but  also  at  the  same  time  they   have  to  deal  with   losing   the  people  they  thought  they  could   trust  the  most.    And   in  a  time  like   this,   when  they  have  every  right  to  be  resentful,  somehow  they  must  find  a   way   to  let  it  go  and   just   move   forward.     For   example,   I   found   myself   watching   my   own   friends   mentally  breakdown   because  of   me.    Yes  this  shows  how  much  they  care   about  me,  but  it  also  meant  I  had   to   worry   about  them  on   top   of  worrying   about   myself.     I  had   friends   that   would   call  me  three  times  a  day   yet   I  never  talked   to   them  because  when   I   would  answer  the   phone  I  would  hear   sobbing   and   then   the   "click"   of   the  phone  hanging   up   on   me.     One   of   these   times,  the  mom  called  me  back  a   minute  later  to  say  she   was  sorry,  but   "Kate  cant   work  up  the   courage  to  talk  to  you."     If  you  have  never   had  this   happen  to   you,   I  hope  it   never  does.    Never  in  my  life  have  I  ever  felt   so   helpless   and   confused.    Since   when   does  my   best   friend   have  to   work  up  courage   to  talk  to   me?     Its  times   like   these   that  you  will  never  forget,  but   they  also  remind   you  of  just  how  strong  you  really  are.
  4. 4.          Cancer  can  be   a   time  of   extreme  loneliness.    When  people  ask   me   about   the  darkest  time  I  had  during  my   treatment,  I  instantly   think  of  my  first   night  in  the  hospital.    There  I  was  lying   in  a  hospital  bed   for  the  first  time  ever.    I  was  dripping   wet   in  sweat,  listening   to  the  beeping   of  the  heart   monitors  and  I  look   over  at   the  clock  and   see  that   it   is  2  A.M.    For  the  first  time   in  about  16   hours  I   was  finally  alone,  no  more  doctors  and   no  more  people  asking  me  how  I  feel.     I  knew  I   wasnt  going  to  be   able  to  fall  asleep  that  night;  I  was  just  waiting   for  my  first  surgery  at  7  A.M.  which  would  be   followed  by  my  first  round  of  chemo.    This  was  when   I  had  that  daunting  question   in   my   head,   "why   me?"     I   had   never   done   anything   bad;   I   even   went   to   church  frequently;   I   mean,   there   are   so   many   bad   people   out   there   that   this  couldve   happened   to  instead!    And   then   to   top   it   off,   I   knew  my  friends  were  at   home   as  healthy  as  could   be  and  sound  asleep   in   their  own  comfy  beds.    This  was  when  I  decided  I  was  going   to  do   what  ever  it  took  to  get  myself  healthy  so  I  would  never  again  have  to  experience  that  kind  of  loneliness.          By   now  as  you  are  reading  this,  you  probably  think   that  there  is  nothing  positive  that   could  come  out   of   this  experience,  but  you  are   wrong.    Some   of   my  best  memories  and  relationships  are  because   of  going   through   cancer.     All  of  my  nurses  and   doctors  I   now  consider  my  family.    All   of  the   time   and   hardships   that   I   have   gone   through   with   them   has   made   a   bond   that   is  unbreakable.     I   realized   all  of  this  on   the   day  that   is  now   more   special   to   me   than   even   my  birthday  ~   my  final  day   of  chemo!    Finishing  3   1/2  years   of  chemo   is   very  much   like  earning   a  badge  of  honor.    I  had   just  won  my  own  war,  and  a  war   that   many  people  dont   always  win.    The  reward   is   that   I   can   now  start  my  life   over  as  a  "normal"  person,   and   finally   start  feeling  good  again   with   no   worries.    I  remember   starting   to   feel  tears   come   on   but   could   not   understand  why.    There  is  a  tidal  wave   of   emotion  that   hits   you  that  I  cannot  describe   with  words.    You  will  never   understand   how   powerful   it   is   unless   you   have   experienced   it   yourself.     This   day   of  triumph   is  what  makes  your  years  of  fighting   and  pain   all  worth  it.    You  realize  that  the  person  you  are  at  this   time   is  100  times  stronger  than  the   person   you  were  when  you   started.    This  is  why  I  say  that  cancer  was  one  of  the  best  things  that  ever  happened  to  me