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

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