My Story of Survival.


On June 6,2003 my life completely changed forever. This was the day I was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer at the age of 4 1/2. Many may choose to dwell on the negatives of being diagnosed with T-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – the surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and the years that I spent in a hospital however,I choose to focus on the positives. I strongly believe that everything in life happens for a reason.  Despite my youth, I still have some vivid memories during that time.


For over two years, I basically lived at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, undergoing  treatment. I still recall a cold hospital room’ watching the Cartoon Network, and being distracted by the incessant “beeping” of my IV. My red hair began to fall out shortly after treatment and I recall handing clumps of it to the doctors and nurses treating me. My hair would then disappear for the next two years.  Shortly thereafter, in pre-kindergarten class, I went to the bathroom and a girl told me that I was using the wrong bathroom. She directed me to the boy’s bathroom on the other side of the cafeteria. The girl assumed I was a boy since I did not have any hair.


I recall one of the of the chemotherapy drugs I received was a very painful shot in my leg.  Each time I received this shot, there was more of a chance for me to have negative and potential life threatening reaction to it. I would sit on my Mom’s lap and by the end of that particular drug treatment I was able to sit very still, take the pain and not even cry.  Conversely, I also have some fond memories like the hospital playroom where all the kids got to leave their rooms and have fun like normal kids. That would be the highlight of my hospital stays, I got to go and play in the playroom. I also became an expert at spin art and air hockey.


Each year, I am invited to attend Seany’s Camp Reach for the Sky. The camp invites families with children diagnosed with cancer. The Seany Foundation’s main goal is to bring awareness tc childhood cancer. Every year 10,400 children under the age of fifteen are diagnosed with cancer. Seany’s Camp Reach for the Sky allow families affected by cancer to escape the hospitals and enjoy camp. I have made some really good friends friends throughout my experiences with Seany’s Camp Reach for the Sky. Most of my friends from this camp, I only see them one week per year but our bond is such that we feel we have known each other our entire lives living. One close amazing, and inspiring friend was named Ryan. He passed away this year. I will miss his crazy dancing and his sense of humor. I have seen many friends lose their battle with cancer and pass away but I have struggled endured and survived.


Because of my tribulations, I am a better person. I do not take life for granted. I choose to appreciate just one thing, each and every day. If you choose to accept me for the Faith, Love & Jesus Inc, scholarship, I will choose to appreciate being a college student, each and every day.


~Natasha Barsness


Leave a Reply