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Never Give Up
Describe how the experiences you’ve had, the people you’ve met, and the activities you’ve joined have prepared you to reflect the honesty, integrity, and willingness to give back as expected of a Daniel’s Scholar.
My mind was wandering off in the colorful world of the television screen. I just came home from school feeling really lazy. My mom was preparing dinner and the aroma of fried chicken and rice drifted throughout the house. I could hear my stomach roaring with hunger. “Food’s ready!” my mom announced. My brothers and I rushed to the kitchen. We sat down and I glanced at the empty chair in front of me where my dad usually sits. “When is dad coming home?” I asked my mom. She responded in a sigh, “Your dad is a very hard working man and he’ll get home later tonight.”
As the evening rolled by, my dad came home looking very pale and feeling stressed. He looked at my mom with curious eyes and told her that all day he has been feeling a little bump in his stomach. My mom began to interrogate him as to whether he got injured, and he said that he was carrying a heavy load of 4x4’s. At first we didn’t think it was anything serious. The days passed, and my dad wasn’t the same cheerful person. I could sense his fear.
“Let’s go to the doctor,” my dad insisted, “This little bump doesn’t feel right and I think I feel another one.” Immediately, my mom made sure to make an appointment. I was left in charge of my two younger brothers. I heard the zooming of the car pull up the drive way. I looked out the window like a trapped ghost. My heart was crushed when I saw my mom step out, crying. My dad had an expressionless blank face as he held my mom.
The kitchen door squeaked open. My mom sat me down, and my face was puzzled in confusion. She looked at me desperately in my eyes. I’ll never forget the words that came out of her lips, “Mija, your dad has cancer.” I looked up at my dad, and his head was low to the ground. I never thought that in a million years this would happen.
The word cancer stayed on my mind. What is cancer? I remember watching the St. Jude’s Hospital commercials where the small children were connected onto wires with fragile faces and no hair. I felt sorry for them, but there was nothing I could do, I mean I was only 13. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do.
My world completely changed as well as my father’s and my family’s. That year was one of the toughest, scariest years of my life. My dad was diagnosed with lymphoma, which is a type of cancer that affects the immune system. My mom is a very religious woman and the day before my dad was scheduled to take chemotherapy, we all joined in a prayer. From then on, we went to Church every weekend and people kept telling my dad to have faith in himself. At first I thought, why would God do this?
I completely broke down crying in my room. Every night I prayed to God asking Him to cure my dad. I couldn’t see my dad without any hair or even imagine him sick in a hospital bed or even worse...death. I felt the pain he did. Every time I came home from school, I would see my weak dad lying down on the couch. He lost at least 2 months of work and a lot of weight for a 200 pound, 6 ft. man. He used to be so active and hated being stuck in the house. If you gave him a project, he would do it in an instant. My dad is such a motivating and impacting person in my life. His dream is for me to go to college and he always tells me, education first.
I believed that my dad would be back and healthy in no time. Our family united like never before. No matter how hard of a time it was, my dad always had a twinkling smile and hope in his light brown eyes. After 4 years, my dad is in the best shape of his life. He no longer has cancer after 6 months of intense treatment. I’m so thankful that my dad recovered. He is truly a walking miracle.
Not too long ago, we received a phone call from my uncle’s friend from Utah who was literally freaking out. Sadly, his son of 13 years old has cancer. This poor man was desperately seeking my dad for advice. He was stuck in the exact same situation as I was. “Never give up.” My dad insisted. I take those three simple words to my heart.
My sophomore year I decided to join basketball. In the beginning, I didn’t think it would be hard, but that first week literally killed me. I was so exhausted and sore when I came home every night. I didn’t know how much hard work this would put me through, but I never gave up. My dad has worked so hard for our family to provide food and a home. I want to show my parents that I too can be a hard working, independent young woman.
Each deep breathe that I take after running a 16 pushes me to do my best. Before a game, our coaches come into the locker room and tell us to put our heart on the floor, work hard, be aggressive, play smart and have fun. Whatever doesn’t hurt you makes you stronger.