In July 2016 at the age of 14, I was diagnosed with a rare, stage-4 cancer known as Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS). This cancer was found in my pelvis, and I was told I had less than a 10% chance of survival. When I was diagnosed, I thought it was the end of the world.
Getting diagnosed with cancer is not something you expect to happen. At first, my parents and I thought my 19-centimeter long tumor was an infected abscess. When I was told I had two tumors and had to undergo 54 weeks of treatment, I was not prepared. Everyone called me strong and brave, but the truth is, I wasn’t at all. I was terrified for my life and even suicidal in the beginning. I wanted to end my pain and suffering, but I found the courage to fight because of my loving, caring friends and family, who were there for me 24/7.
When I first was diagnosed, my mom, dad and I all cried together. Then, I immediately called my best friend. She is my rock, and when I told her the bad news her first response was, “Oh my God, why you?!” I agreed. Why me?
The hardest part for me was losing my hair because I was so attached to it, and my hair was like my security blanket. Then something amazing happened: My best friend shaved her head for me. That is one thing I will never be able to repay her for. It was hard enough for me to lose my hair, but she did it, too, so that I would feel better. It made me realize I have so many reasons to be alive and that life has much more to it than sadness, pain and suffering.
I am now an adventurous artist who dreams of becoming a photographer and maybe even a makeup artist. From my experience, I learned that life is full of ups and downs. No matter what, you should always look at the good part of your life. DO NOT ever take anything for granted! I was able to find the courage to fight cancer because I had, and still have, amazing friends and family by my side.
Not only is September my birth month, but it’s also Childhood Cancer Awareness month. I hope people see my story and get inspiration from the fact that I am alive, well, and getting back to “normal” as much as I can. Children’s Hospital Colorado played a huge part by caring for me, and I always had the best nurses and doctors working by my side, making sure I would thrive and live.
Today, Faith is raising money for other kids at Children’s Colorado. Donate to her fundraising page in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.