Third Place Winner Andre Sobel Award 2011

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Third Place Winner Andre Sobel Award 2011

  1. 1. Y ou A re Mos koff Micah 2011 el b lace W inner ird P re SoAnd ard Aw Th
  2. 2. A bo ut  Micah   has   now   been   in   remission   for   5   years   and   is   going   strong.   She   was  diagnosed  with  Acute  Lymphoblastic  Leukemia   in  November   2003   at  the  age  of  11  and  completed  her  treatment  in  July  2006.She  currently  attends  Elmira  College  in  New  York  and  is  actively  involved  with  the  tennis  team,  the   Gold  Key   Society  and  Ultimate  Frisbee.   She  is  also   the  senator  for  Hillel.  She   plans   to   focus   on   Human   Services  and  Psychology  and  is  looking  towards   a  career  in   which   she   is   able   to   help   people.   After  her   long   battle,  her  entire   outlook   on   life   has   changed.   The   uncontrollable   fear,   anger   and  determination  to   beat  out  her  disease  brought  her  so   many   blessings  in  the   end.  The   amazing   people  she   met  through   treatment,  the   support   of   her  family   and  friends  and  the   lessons  she  learned  through   this  process  makes  her  goal,  which  is  to  experience  as  much  as  she  can.The   inspiration   for   her   essay   came   from   her   love   of   writing   and   being   able   to  express   herself   as   differently   and   uniquely   as   possible.   She   expressed   her  emotions  through  various  fonts   and  styles  of  writing  to  convey  her  sense  of  fear,  anger  and  the  difficult   journey  she   went  through.  Micah  plans  on  using  the  award  funding  to  support  her  dreams  of  traveling  and  saving  for  her  future  goals  in  life.
  3. 3. Es sayAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Okay,  take  a  moment...Breathe...Lets  be  honest,  Micah,  thats  never  worked  for  you.          In  all  honesty,  whoever  came  up  with  screaming  at  the  top  of  ones  lungs  was  genius.    Because  though  it  does  not  solve  anything,  it  is  liberating.    And  everyone  needs,  or  at  least  wants,  to  feel  free  as  opposed  to  feeling  trapped.          You  see,  the  truth  is,  Im  not  sure  how  to  start  my  story  this  time.    Ive  written  about  it  time  after  time,  Ive  talked  about  day  after  day,  and  God  knows  Ive  thought  about  it  more  than  I  can  ever  let  on.    I  guess,  today,  I  just  feel...LOST.                Here  are  the  facts:                                    1.    I  was  diagnosed  with  acute  lymphoblastic  leukemia  back  on  November  1,                                                2003  at  eleven  years  old.                                    2.    I  spent  almost  three  years  fighting  something  I  was  told  I  could  originally                                                beat  in  a  little  under  two  years.                                    3.    My  treatment  consisted  of  chemotherapy,  radiation,  and  lots  of  television,                                                mainly  FRIENDS  and  reality  TV.                                    4.    I  finished  treatment  on  July  25,  2006.                                    5.    I  will  be  officially  cancer  free  this  summer  because  I  will  have  reached  my                                                five-­‐year  mark.          Now,  that  was  the  easy  part,  but  lets  be  honest:  the  in-­‐between,  you  know,  the  real  make-­‐you-­‐want-­‐to-­‐throw-­‐pillows-­‐out-­‐the-­‐window  or  the  emotional-­‐pain-­‐that-­‐is-­‐so-­‐overwhelming-­‐
  4. 4. you-­‐think-­‐your-­‐heart-­‐might-­‐stop-­‐even-­‐for-­‐a-­‐second  truth  is  so  much  greater  and  harder  to  tell...because  it  just  is.          I  know  Im  rambling,  I  know.    But  like  I  said,  the  breathing  never  helps,  so  I  have  to  express  myself  in  a  way  that  even  puzzles  me.          The  bottom  line  is  that  no  one  ever  tells  you  the  real  truth,  the  in-­‐between-­‐the-­‐lines  truth:    there  is  so  much  that  you  couldnt  change  if  you  wanted  to,  and  for  better  or  worse,  relationships  made  every  difference  in  this  horrifying  and  yet,  strangely  poetic  journey.          When  I  was  sick,  it  was  like  I  was  glass.    I  could  easily  break  and  people  had  to  treat  me  with  care.    And  they  did.    My  mom,  dad,  and  two-­‐year  older  brother  became  so  much  to  me.    They  were  my  shelter,  or  I  guess  in  this  metaphor  Im  attempting  to  create,  a  table  for  me  to  rest  on.    (DOES  THAT  ACTUALLY  MAKE  SENSE?)    Anyway,  something  held  us  together  and  therefore,  I  held  together.    Like  I  said,  I  was  fragile  and  there  were  times  when  I  did  break.    But  they  always  managed  to  piece  me  back  together.    I  love  them.    I  do.          Of  course,  I  had  some  incredible  friends,  too.    Keep  in  mind,  they  were  all  young,  like  me.    Innocent,  not  even  at  the  age  of  puberty  yet.    But  they  called  me,  hugged  me,  protected  me,  laughed  with  me.    Maybe  they  didnt  understand,  even  I  didnt  understand.    Not  sure  if  I  do  to  this  day.    But  the  few  that  stayed  by  me...Well,  thank  you.    And  I  wont  be  letting  them  out  of  my  life  anytime  soon.          Then,  there  were  others.    Those  who  didnt  know  how  to  cope  with  my  illness  or  how  to  react  to  me.          Once,  upon  a  time,  there  was  a  young  girl  with  long  brown  hair,  a  goofy  smile,  and  a  naive  sense  about  her.    She  was  good  at  basketball  and  softball,  made  ridiculous  jokes,  and  felt  on  top  of  the  world.          GONE.          Something  happened  along  the  way  to  me:          She  became  bald,  sick,  tired,  she  spent  most  of  her  time  sleeping,  soon  she  became  reserved  and  lost.    The  end.          So,  in  some  ways,  it  was  my  fault  too.    I  didnt  reach  out  as  much  as  I  should  have.    I  didnt  know  how.    In  order  to  understand,  just  imagine,  standing  in  place  while  the  world  is  speeding  past  you  at  the  speed  of  light.    They  move  on  with  their  life  but  you  are  just...STILL.
  5. 5.          I  learned  from  this  that  some  relationships  change  forever.    And  for  anyone,  especially  an  eleven-­‐twelve-­‐year  old  girl,  its  never  easy.    How  do  you  fix  it?    How  do  you  change  it?    See,  there  it  is  again:  change.    Then  you  realize,  maybe,  as  much  as  it  hurts  for  them  to  go,  maybe  they  were  there  in  your  life  when  you  needed  them  and  gone  when  you  were  ready  to  move  on.          Unfortunately,  there  are  times  when  relationships  are  not  enough.    I  met  several  people  throughout  my  journey  who  were  plagued  with  similar  life-­‐threatening  illnesses.    They  didnt  make  it.    With  that,  came  survivors  guilt.    Nothing  is  as  painful  as  questioning  why  you  remained  alive  while  the  person  you  cared  about,  who  had  a  similar  journey,  was  taken  away.          At  the  end  of  the  day,  all  someone  ever  looks  for,  is  to  have  someone  to  hold  onto,  even  for  a  little  while.    And  when  someone  is  sick,  all  they  look  for  is  someone  to  give  them  a  sense  of  belonging,  but  more  than  anything,  people  look  for...HOPE.    Because,  no  they  dont  get  what  youre  going  through,  not  one  hundred  percent.    And  they  can  drive  you  crazy.    Or  they  leave  your  life,  maybe  even  leave  the  world.    But  when  youre  fighting  something  that  makes  you  question  everything,  and  makes  you  feel  lost  as  anything  else,  all  it  takes  is  just  knowing  that  even  if  you  feel  alone,  there  are  others  in  the  world  who  want  to  be  lost  and  alone  with  you.          Im  not  sure  if  this  is  even  on  point.    I  feel  a  little  lost  myself  nowadays.    What  Im  trying  to  say  is  that  sometimes,  all  we  need  is  to  know  that  despite  the  obstacles,  despite  the  burden  of  the  unknown,  all  we  need  to  do  is  to  find  our  way  back.    We  need  to  hold  on  tight  with  each  other,  close  our  eyes,  and  imagine  deep  within  us  the  inner  child  that  keeps  us  holding  onto  the  possibility  of  letting  go  and  learning  to  find  the  wonders  of  freefalling!

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