During October of 2017, I started to feel a sharp pain in my right glute during cross country practice. Thinking it was nothing more than a running injury, I started rolling out and stretching more consistently and went about my way. Flash forward to December and the pain has only gotten worse. I could no longer sit in a chair for over fifteen minutes and I was in too much pain to sit in a classroom, let alone do any sort of schoolwork. Eventually, I couldn't run winter track and instead had to start physical therapy for what we thought was just a terrible case of sciatica.
Finally, on December 23rd, after countless sleepless nights and missed school days, I had an MRI that revealed a mass near my sacrum. And on December 26th I had a surgical biopsy which revealed that mass to be a rare form of bone/soft tissue cancer known as Ewing's Sarcoma.
I would then go on to complete 14 rounds of rounds of multiple intense chemotherapies, over 30 sessions of proton beam radiation therapy, two weeks of lung radiation, and numerous infusions of a trial drug.
Despite spending the majority of my days in a hospital bed or a cancer center, I still managed to fulfil my senior year credits and graduate on time with the rest of my class. And in the effort of giving back, I also spoke at various golf outings, galas, and even appeared on CBS this morning to advocate for the Valerie Fund.
It has been roughly one and a half years since I was diagnosed with cancer and I am so happy to say that I am currently NED (no evidence of disease aka in remission). In the Fall I will be starting my freshman year of college at the University of Maryland—but in the meantime I have been working at the Salad House of Westfield and interning/writing a cathartic blog for the Valerie Fund.
Cancer has forever changed my life and I will never be the same person I was before. Because no matter what the prognosis is, a cancer diagnosis is lifelong. The pain, the anger, and the fear of relapse are just a few of the components that make up the enormous burden a cancer patient has to carry with her everyday.
Having a place like the Valerie Fund, though, makes it easier.
I have received such incredible love and support from the Valerie Fund since day one. It is my hope that every kid that receives a cancer diagnosis is met with the same care.
Please consider making a donation or come join me and the rest of team Liv Strong on June 8th as we walk and run to raise money for the Valerie Fund.