I’m James Moore – A Survivor!!

Our world is an incredibly busy system. There are many different world issues I could discuss that have been talked about for generations, like poverty, healthcare, violence, etc. However, I want to pose a topic that is often and easily overlooked.

The topic is how people get so caught up in their everyday lives. They don’t take a step back to appreciate the little things like enjoying their family, friends, and hobbies that truly make them happy. There is so much stress and anxiety. In society today, things move quickly and everything is expected to happen at lightning speed, especially living in 2020 when we have everything at our fingertips. Society’s main focus tends to be on education and making money.

Education most certainly isn’t bad, but I would say that college is the first time most people begin to associate themselves solely by what they do. For example, when you meet someone at school we ask their name and their major. When you meet people at a social gathering, it is often asked: “What do you do?. I would argue that this is a big issue. Viewing ourselves by what we “do” reinforces a false reality of who we are and puts our true self on the back burner for a persona we show to the public.

I work at a grocery store and see many different people from different walks of life on a daily basis. They all have their unique individual lives; they tend to each and every day. Some people look like they’re coming in from work, going to work, or just picked up their kids. Others are students getting ready to go to class. Every one of these individuals has their own concerns, but we forget that we are only human and won’t be in this world forever. Sometimes it is better to take a step back and realize how precious relationships are and recognize the things that are truly important in life. Take time to evaluate what matters.

I am guilty of this myself because I’m busy as a full-time working student. It’s not always easy but neither are things we do every day. We force ourselves to complete mundane tasks daily to check a box when we could all afford to put work, school, chores, and errands aside to sped time with the people we love the most. How different would the world be if we all took some time out of our day to focus and nurture what matters most? As well as take time for ourselves. Take the time to be still.

There’s a higher power that has brought our world to a stop. Here recently with the Corona Virus Disease Pandemic, we are forced to cocoon ourselves in our homes and huddle with our loved ones. We may just have been give the gift of time to reflect, gain clarity, and find new ways of going about what we do and even how we think. We can’t predict what the days will bring going forward. But what is it that we can do today to make our tomorrow a better place for us, our family, and the world? Have you take advantage of this time?

~~JAMES DANIEL MOORE

I’m Audrey – I Beat Cancer – I’m A Survivor!!

The medical field has always been a fascination of mine. When I was a little kid, my favorite game to play with my friends was doctor. I would come up with crazy scenarios, getting stung by a black sea urchin, or being bitten by a rattlesnake, and fake the treatment for the situation.

As I got older, I deviated from the medical field, but everything that I wanted to do, until I came back to the medical field, I wanted to help people. I wanted to be an immigration lawyer, and help immigrants. I wanted to become a marine biologist, and help the falling populations of sea life. I wanted to do something with the environment, and bring awareness to the state our planet is in. I then realized my love of biology, and came back to the medical field, finally deciding on my future career of nursing.

My aunt is a nurse, and when I was little, she would always bring me cool stuff from the hospital, and tell me stories about all the places that she had worked as a traveling nurse. When I came back around to the idea of becoming a nurse this past year. I realized how versatile the career is. One of my greatest fears is that I will get bored of the job that I choose, with nursing, that is virtually impossible. I love the science behind it, learning how the body works, and how things can go wrong. I love being able to help people, take care of them, and help to ensure that their quality of life is as good as it can be. I want to be the nurse in the hospital who is liked by her patients, the one that is strict when needed, but kind and fun when she can be.

One of my teachers this year, for my Medical Career and Tech Ed class, was a nurse for years before she decided to go into teaching. We do practical skills, and have even gotten to put in an IV on dummies, as well as learning how to do blood pressure, and measure vitals. Through this class, I have learned so much about what nursing truly is, and how many aspects of it there are.

I am exhilarated to be starting this next chapter of my life, going to University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) to get my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. College is a time for new things, for new friends, but most importantly, to learn. I love being with like-minded people, and, since UNR has a full-fledged medical program. I will get to study with aspiring doctors and surgeons, as well as my future nursing peers. Even though I have deviated from going into the medical field and hopped around in what I want to do in medicine, I am confident that this passion that I have for helping people, and for learning about the human body will stick with me for the rest of my life.

~~AUDREY SMITH

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Meet A Survivor – Olivia Waldenberg!

A stabbing pain rung through my heart as my achy and trembling body sat in disbelief. My eyes slowly started to swell up with tears. I held them back without a blink; afraid I would look weak if I let the tears roll down my face. Keeping it together as best as I could, my doctor announced to me that I had been diagnosed with ITP. Immune Thrombocytopenia Purpura, a rare uncureable blood disease that caused my body to under produce enough platelets for my blood to clot correctly. I was devastated from the news, but more scared for my future. Feeling so afraid and worried about what this would do to my body, I felt that it was the biggest obstacle I had ever encountered in my life.

While stunting in cheer, playing tennis, or even going cliff jumping in the summer was a pull back from my everyday reality of a carefree spirit, it taught me a new way of life. Cautious and still. A complete change of lifestyle but one that I had no other choice than to try. At first it seemed pointless and dumb but eventually got through to me how important it was to restrict myself from certain activities and taking high levels of precaution. The biggest setback I have ever experienced that would change my life forever. While at the time it seemed as if my life was over it had deeper meaning of just setback.

It taught me to look at things more optimistically, change the difficult into easy; but most importantly, learn the delicacy of life. Most times it felt as if the bad days could not get any worse, as if I would be stuck in the constant circle of doctor appointments and steroids forever. After having to rearrange my life to a new and unknown lifestyle, with weekly blood draws, several new medicines, and different IV’s, it taught me to appreciate how good I had it. At the time it seemed as if there would be a constant weight of dread on my shoulders, it made me realize the opportunities that were still in store for my future.

Seeing so many other, younger, sick kids on my weekly trips to the hospital for my checkups, screaming in the rooms next to me, made it clear to me just how much I took life for granted. The month-long bruises on my arms and legs appeared to be the worst thing that ever happened in my life; but seeing all these other kids experience twice as much pain as I had, made me reconsider everything. As some days it seemed as if I had hit rock bottom when I found fault and negativity in everything I was doing. I knew I could rise above the state of pity and sorrow I consistently found myself in. I had to make the most of what I had that these other kids did not.

Something so small appeared to be something so big, that I let it swallow up the happiness and innocence of my newly birthed teenage years. It taught me to overcome the struggle and turn it into a challenge instead. It was not going to outlive me, and I stood by that. My ITP will encourage me to push through the feeling of limitations when schoolwork gets tough to remind me about the much harder obstacles I have faced in the past. College will help me grow as a person and expand myself to develop new connections of an interest that I can be the best me in . Not only will it help me with future aspirations of pursuing my own business, but it will teach me the depth and willingness of putting in hours of hard work.

ITP has taught me to chase my goals rather than run from them. But in the midst of it all, it most importantly taught me to become more humble and grounded in the person I was becoming. It taught me to not take no for an answer and say yest to anything and everything that presented itself to me. It helped me continue to grow into the person I am today and experience my life to the fullest. Without it, I would not be half the teenager I am now. What I learned most about having a chronic condition is making the most of what life throws at you.

Whether it be big or small, but to take advantage of everything around me. Whether it is my friends, family, or loved ones. Whether they mean a lot to me or not, wasting my time falling into the same loopholes of despair will only get me to where I started. It taught me to be present in the moment because life will pass me by if I’m not here to live in it.

~~Olivia Waldenburg

Anna Mathias…A Survivor!!

My name is Anna Mathias. When I was twenty-two months old I was diagnosed with a malignant neuroblastoma, located in the nerves along my spinal cord. I soon underwent a twelve hour surgery that resulted in ninety-five percent of the tumor being removed. I then was given several rounds of chemotherapy, in hopes of killing the remaining cancer. However, when I was four years old the tumor started to grow again. I received another extensive surgery, this one with the intent of removing the entirety of the tumor. There was a fifty percent chance I would be paralyzed from the waist down if something went wrong with this surgery.

Fortunately, my surgeon was able to remove all of the tumor, and I have been cancer-free for about fifteen years now. My family always tells me how incredible it was that I was able to stay strong throughout the whole endeavor. My doctor constantly calls me her “miracle patient” whenever I go for my yearly check-ups. I come from a very religious family. Growing up, praying as a family and going to Mass was always a regular occurrence, so much so that it started to feel as if I was going through the motions. I did not feel a fire burning in my heart for God, there was no real passion behind my beliefs.

When I was about twelve years old, my grade school religion teacher said to me, “There is a difference between knowing of God and knowing God.” This simple phrase truly changed my life. I realized in that moment that I only knew about God. I did not have a strong, individual relationship with Him. It was as if God was solely a figure I read about in a book and had to take tests on, I never viewed Him as a Father who loves and forgives me unconditionally.

After this realization I was able to truly open my heart up to God. It is hard for me to envision a time in my life when I did not have this deep love for Him. Whenever I feel sad, stressed, or scared – I turn to Him. Whenever I feel alone or desperate – I turn to Him. Whenever I feel like my world is crashing down and I just need someone to hold me – I turn to Him, and I can always feel His presence. I remember that He is there for me, that He understands me, and that there is nothing I could ever do to make Him turn away from me.

I want to spend my life bringing other people to God. This past summer I spent a week at Notre Dame University as part of a religious retreat. At the retreat, I was put into a small group that I would participate in activities and share my thoughts with. One girl was very vocal about how she struggled to form a relationship with God. One day, as I was talking to her privately, she explained to me that part of the reason she had trouble coming to God was because she had been physically abused by her long-term boyfriend. The abuse went on for months before she ended the relationship, and she told me I was he the first person she confided in about this. She did not understand how if God loved her, why would He let such an awful thing happen to her?

I told her how God granted every human being free will, and unfortunately, He could not have controlled her boyfriend’s actions. I continued to say that, despite this, God protected her during that time. He helped her to survive and to come out on the other side of that experience, and He was by her side the entire time; just like how when Jesus was being crucified for our sins God never left Him. She told me that this conversation truly changed her outlook on God. I believe that she was the first person I was able to bring to God, and I want to continue showing people His love every day of my life.

I genuinely experienced God in my life. From the time I was diagnosed with cancer, to now, as I am losing my senior year to a global pandemic. He has always been there to comfort and guide me. I know that God will help me through this next chapter of my life, and with Him by my side I have nothing to fear. After all, if God is for us, who can stand against us?

~~ANNA MATHIAS

Meet a Survivor…Olivia Leeds

Even though something like cancer is a very negative thing, there are also some positive things that come out of it that some people overlook. The experience I went through caused me to choose my career. My nurses would always go above and beyond for me to make sure I was always smiling as I was receiving treatment and wanted me to have the best experience I possibly could which helped shape me into a more of a caring and loving person who always saw the brighter side of things.

I am now going to school for nursing so that I could give back to the other pediatric oncology patients and treat them the way I was treated. I currently work at an assisted living in Billerica, MA and it is one of the most rewarding things I could do. My main priority at work is to always make sure they have a smile on their face throughout the day. Not being able to do everything on your own is probably one of the worst feelings in the world so if I can do the littlest thing like make them laugh or spend extra time with them I always will. The best feeling for me is walking around at work and hearing the residents talk about how I am so nice and so caring and the other residents agreeing.

If I see one of them feeling down and upset, I make sure to always stay with them until they are better because no one deserves to be like that. Not only has my cancer driven me with my career but it has helped me with my family. Almost two years ago, my brother who is now 15, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. In a way, I felt like that was worse than I went through because it is a life-long battle that will never go away. Knowing how it feels to fight such a hard battle I was right there by his side to help him through the hard times.

A week before he was diagnosed, I was learning about finger pricking and diabetes in shop because I went through a technical high school. When he came home from the hospital, I would help him with his finger pricks and always reassure him that everything was going to be okay. Now, he is an absolute pro at making sure everything is okay and that it is all under control. If I never went through what I did, I would not be where I am, and I truly think that my experience with cancer shaped me as a person and had such a positive impact.

~~OLIVIA LEEDS

Faith Hope and Love Jesus, Inc. Essay – by Sana Moezzi

People always say to keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Your worst enemy could be your best friend, and your best friend could be your worst enemy. To me, chemotherapy was both my best friend and worst enemy. This beautiful poison was designed to strip away the person I once was, and sculpted me into the person I have grown to truly be. That is, a survivor: an individual who looks beyond the battle of such an excruciating fight, and carries inspiration around the world.

In November 2016, I was juggling three advanced placement classes, running two service clubs on campus, playing violin with the San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra, and working at Blaze Pizza five days a week. Instantly, all of that stopped. After coming home from work one day, my mother noticed a huge bump on my right shoulder. PET/CT scans and a biopsy later, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer. Not only did I go through cycles of chemotherapy and radiation, but I missed five months of my senior year. On top of that, I was struggling to meet the deadline for college applications without having the ability to even stand on my own two feet.

With no hopes as to what the future may hold, the toxicity persisted. I persevered, regardless of the pain that had crescendoed into a force impacting my daily life. In addition to such unendurable moments, I too was working hard to graduate on time like every other normal senior in my class. I had fears of not graduating with all my friends, that this disease called cancer would destroy my happiness like it destroyed my body cells. I had doubts cancer would allow me to earn my diploma or attend the school of my dreams. Finally, through perseverance and diligence, I walked on stage with the rest of my classmates and claimed my diploma. I made it.

A cancer infiltrated my life, I have changed as a person, and transformed my illness into a lifetime blessing. I grew as a person by voicing positivity, and noticed myself reframing all the excruciating experiences into moments of gratitude. I learned to let my smiles change the world and to seek positivity even during the times in which it may be more difficult to find. Amidst all the pain, I found myself smiling and appreciating the fact that I am living to see another day. Although such unfortunate news had made me question my own personal happiness, this journey ignited a spark in my heart and continues to shine positivity to all those around me to this day. Inspired by such light, I was determined to help those enduring similar circumstances.

Throughout my life, I have had a strong passion and love for giving back to the Carlsbad community and the people around me. From organizations such as the American Red Cross of San Diego to founding Project F.E.E.D., I devoted my time to bettering the lives of those overcoming adversity. During my treatment, I had heard about the Make-A-Wish Foundation as an organization giving back to children and bringing joy in their life, and I never thought that I would one day be that wish kid and have my life changed forever. Barely six weeks after my lymphatic cancer was declared in remission, Make-A-Wish granted my wish to go to the 2017 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. To create happiness in the hearts of others, especially when battling an illness, is the best way to fulfill the lives of others; hence, I wanted to pay that gift forward.

Since having my wish granted in spring 2017, I quickly became involved. Becoming a wish kid ambassador, I serve as a spokesperson for the San Diego chapter. I share my story and wish impact amongst thousands of people in order to help raise awareness and garner community support for such an inspiring mission. In addition to serving as a Wish It Forward program ambassador, I lead the Kids for Wish Kids’ fundraising program at my school – all to help grant more life-affirming wishes for kids battling critical illnesses like myself. As founder and president, I invite and strongly encourage students to volunteer for various wishes, in which we have helped raise over 3,000 dollars in little over a year. Through joy and enthusiasm, this powerful cause has made me cognizant of the major impact this club is capable of in the future. I strongly believe there is often an intrinsic connection between wish kids and wish granters who experienced the power of a wish themselves.

As soon as I turned 18, I became an official wish granter, and teamed with one of my former wish granters to grant my first wish. In February 2018, I granted my first wish for five-year-old leukemia patient Leona, who wished for a life-sized pirate ship in her backyard. To see this little girl smile so big for the first time in months was one of the most emotional and happiest moments of my life. Knowing firsthand what the power of a wish can accomplish for others gives me an endless amount of joy for children facing critical illnesses. With so much of their normalcy taken away, a wish offers something to look forward to, replaces fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope. Granting my first wish has inspired me to take on many more wishes every year, and has granted my very own personal wish for the future – to see these angels smile.

As my love for giving back grew stronger, I learned how strong of an impact I can make through the ever-changing, and challenging world of nonprofit organizations like Make-A-Wish; thus, I discovered my new. I wanted to expand this aspiration of mine by pursuing a career rooted in bringing hope, strength, and joy to communities through services that greatly contribute to the world around us. Based on my overall work ethic and passion for positively transforming the lives of others, I will continue working hard in academics as well as planning to establish a career in hopes of one day becoming the CEO of Make-A-Wish. Beating such a powerful illness, I am convinced my dreams will one day be a reality.

As light continues to shine in my heart, I learned that no matter the circumstances, gratefulness is key to understanding what life truly has to offer. Battling this life-threatening illness has taught me that the most important role a survivor can play, is one who guides others to brighter futures in life. It is my deepest wish that I continue to serve as an inspiration to my community and amongst my peers, as a survivor.

~~Sana Moezzi

I Am Alejandro Gonzalez…A Survivor!!!

During sixth grade, I wandered through my family’s plot at the local community garden. My mind was curious about a certain crop in our garden; it was unlike anything I’d ever seen, and to my surprise, it was an agave plant. This was the first time I saw a native Mexican grown crop. From then on, I spent hours learning about the diverse layers of crops in Mexico. When I returned to my garden and planted my heirloom blue corn, my understanding of Mexico blossomed with it. With each day, I discovered more about the ways the Aztec empire used the same crop to flourish, and although I’m not in Mexico, agriculture has been an avenue to reconnect and appreciate the minority ethnicity I come from.

Before leaning about Mexican agriculture, I didn’t fully appreciate the importance of where I came from. I thought learning about my culture wasn’t as important compared to other activities like school; however, reading about my ancestors’ inventions and native languages like Nahuatl, has allowed me to resonate with the sacrifices my family and ancestors made to have the opportunities I cherish today.

I took the passion and created a heritage appreciation group at my church, giving people a platform to speak and discuss interests in their own culture, as I did with mine. No matter the culture that was presented, there was something in common with all of us: our passion. I saw there is more than meets the eye with every person’s background you meet, and it allowed me to resonate with what they were teaching.

My desire for a deeper knowledge of Mexican agriculture only grew my fascination for what makes my heritage diverse, but it also gave me the viewpoint of seeing that others do the same with their culture. Not only did this appreciation help me with learning about other cultures, but also helped me with perspective.

During cancer treatment, I developed a phrase to face my challenges: “Life isn’t a math equation; you can’t solve for the unknown variables.” The unique perspectives for abilities I once took for granted like walking, sitting, and standing, helped me focus on variables I could change and not the ones I can’t. Such as participating in extra chemotherapy studies to help researchers understand the mental effects chemotherapy has on patients or educating friends and classmates about leukemia to show the effects of judging people when you don’t know their situation, as many did with me. Seeing leukemia as a strength and opportunity to help me grow, and not as a weakness, developed for my appreciation of what’s granted.

The Faith Hope and Love Jesus scholarship would provide me the opportunity of funding higher education at the University of Washington. Allowing me to have a larger platform to educate others as well as learn about other cultures through the rich diversity at the school. Wile also m allowing me to be a part of the Husky Pediatric Cancer Foundation at the University of Washington to help support other cancer patients by having someone to speak to with a similar experience.

~~Alejandro Hernandez

Defying the Odds: How I Overcame Adversity

I am a junior who is attending Georgia State University to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Science for a career as a Pediatric Nurse. At birth, I was diagnosed with a genetic blood disorder called sickle cell anemia. Since my diagnosis, my life has been filled with the challenges of a chronic illness. I was hospitalized frequently for medical complications so it was difficult to live normally. I felt incapable of enduring the challenges of a chronic illness and often worried about my future. However, I learned strength, courage, and perseverance to defeat adversity and achieve my goals.

Sickle cell anemia is a genetic blood disorder characterized by its sickle-shaped red blood cells. Due to the irregular shape of the red cells, they often become lodged in blood vessel walls which prevent the delivery of oxygen to different parts of the body. When this happens, severe pain, also known as a pain crisis, is experienced in the legs, arms, and back. Often occurring without warning, a pain crisis can last from a few days to several weeks. /further complications of sickle cell anemia include infections, organ damage, stroke, and leg ulcers.

Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic illness is difficult for anyone but for a child, it can be particularly hard to comprehend. I am the youngest child in a set of triplets with two brothers. Learning that I had a chronic illness was devastating. I felt isolated from my brothers and had difficulty incorporating my disease into my life. I was distraught and saw no life for myself outside of a hospital . The emotional impact was immense. I wanted to live normally but found it difficult. Fortunately, frequent hospitalizations allowed me to bond with my nurses. They motivated me to focus on my abilities instead of my disease.

My education is important to me therefore I embraced learning and enjoyed attending school. Unfortunately, medical complications prevented me from attending school regularly. Therefore, I enrolled in my hospital’s school program. Participation gave me a sense of normalcy which improved my attitude. It kept me engaged in learning which helped me to maintain my academic skills. I felt productive which gave me the strength to persevere towards my academic goals. Throughout my academic career, I was consistently on the honor roll. While in high school, I was dual enrolled. In 2018, I graduated summa cum laude with my brothers.

~~Sydney Belcher

Meet Timothy Wohl…A Survivor!!

At the age of 5, my parents woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of my screams. My parents found me in the bathroom and saw the bloody mess I left behind in the toilet. They hurriedly drove me to the emergency room, and after a colonoscopy and some blood work, the doctors told u something that would change my life forever: I was diagnosed with von Willebrand’s disease (vWD).

Growing up with vWD has closed doors for me that neither my parents nor I ever dreamed could be closed. I was restricted from playing contact sports, taught to avoid dangerous situations at all costs, and extremely over-protected. I remember that I had an irrational fear of recess and the playground for the longest time, just because I was afraid of falling, skinning my knee and requiring immediate medical care. But after years and years of countless hospital visits, I slowly gained a comprehensive understanding of myself and my disorder. My doctors took the time to explain the ins and outs of my disease and empathetically helped me overcome my fear of physical exercise. If it hadn’t been for those excellent medical providers, I might have missed out on the physical, emotional and social development that young children experience through group play.

Jumping forward to these past four years at Ohio University, I have focused my time and energy into research related to exercise and fear. I have received multiple grants to conduct research, published multiple articles, and traveled to present my research findings at multiple conferences. i most recently traveled to Denver, CO in February 2020 to present at a conference of over 16,000 physical therapists. I use neuroimaging in my research to scan the brains of athletes with high and low fear to understand how their nervous systems generate movement. I believe my passion for research on exercise and fear stems directly from my experiences with vWD as a child and the research-based education I received from my healthcare providers. There experiences have shaped my career goals of becoming a clinician-scientist in physical therapy, because I want to pay forward the blessings I received as a child who was too afraid to play outside during recess because of my disorder, I want to help other children with stories similar to mine by conducting groundbreaking research in physical therapy that will alleviate the burden of fear of exercise for children with disorders.

As someone with a disorder, I have an intimate understanding of the impact of medical research. I see my experience with vWD as a blessing, rather than a curse, because it exposed me to medical research at such a young age. upon reflection of my life and my story, I believe there is a hidden message within: Everyone has limitations, but you don’t have to be stunted by them. Rather, you can be directed by them to find your niche. And my niche is physical therapy research.

Thank you for your consideration.

~~~Timothy Wohl

I’m Austin Ford…A Survivor!

Well I was born with severe hemophilia, my parents never sheltered me from exploring sports. They allowed me to try sports such as soccer, basketball, running and baseball. I was never really good at any of them other than basketball. Basketball led me to be able to do many things in my life and taught me the meaning of determination and faith. It assured me that the Lord would always be watching over me.

Over the years, I’ve played in school leagues, Park districts, the YMCA and the travel leagues. Being a hemophiliac presented obstacles, such as being taken out of games due to injury or being set out because of coach is nervous to play me out of fear and lack of understanding of the diagnosis. I learned to overcome these obstacles. Winning was pinnacle to me. Pushing through my diagnosis and working around limitations taught me how to determination can push you forward and how adrenaline of being part of a team can take away the pain for a while.

My hemophilia has honestly been a blessing in disguise as it helped me grow to appreciate the obstacles, I’ve been able to overcome. I gave everything I had to give to play basketball when my diagnosis was meant to restrain me. I trusted in the lord. There’s a personal satisfaction that was achieved when I had a good game and overcame obstacles, especially when there were people that said I couldn’t do it because I had hemophilia. The most satisfying experience has been to show that hemophilia doesn’t define me, with hard work and determination I can overcome my diagnosis.

Being part of a team allowed me to identify my passion and lay the foundation for my future goals. Since middle school, I knew I wanted a career in sports. I identified the University of Oregon early on with their college of Business offering several career directions in the sports management arena. Therefore, I set my goal of getting good grades and acceptance into the university. I believe that again my future was in our Lord’s hand and he would ensure I would achieve my goals. When I received my acceptance letter to Oregon, I realize that when I set a goal, I can achieve it.

My goal now, is to help my parents with getting funds to offset the cost of college so my dream can be achieved. Having him affiliate is an ongoing lifelong battle that has a financial impact on my parents each year. By securing scholarships, I can lessen their burden to ensure that this diagnosis doesn’t present an obstacle of not allowing me to pursue my dreams because of finances. It’s my goal to show others suffering from bleeding disorders that you do not need to be defined by your diagnosis and you can achieve whatever dream you have.

~~Austin Ford