A Life of Fighting

December 16, 2009
By Anonymous

Although she is young, and may be modest, one would not have guessed that Dana is twelve years old and fighting for her life. She attends school regularly and continues to play sports, but this “average” hazel-eyed girl is more than meets the eye. Dana is a long time friend of my sister, Emma. They go to school together and play soccer on the same team. While she sometimes may be treated a little differently at school, more leniently, she “prefers they treat me the same because I’m just like everyone else except with a condition”. By her attitude, no one would suspect that this four foot and eleven young woman was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer to the blood, at only eight years old. Dana’s courage, strength, and long battle against cancer make her a young hero.

Having been only four years since she was diagnosed, Dana undergoes treatment nearly every three weeks to get her blood tested; furthermore, once a year she goes to the doctor to get a bone marrow biopsy. This is a daunting procedure for anyone to endure periodically, yet alone a seventh grader, thus displays great strength. At this point, her only cure would be to receive a bone marrow transplant, which her family would only consider if her condition worsened drastically. Dana takes a medicine called Gleevec with her daily meals to help regulate her stomach. She stays strong through all of this with the help of others: “my biggest supporter is probably my dad because he always finds everything that will help me to get better. He is always there and helps me through tough times”. To undergo so many different treatments, it takes real strength, like Odysseus, for Dana to see the brighter side of things. Thinking of others is what helps her get through these harsh periods, knowing that if she doesn’t continue striving for the best, she may never see them again.

With leukemia, Dana has certain restrictions and limitations. For instance, she can’t go to some places because of the excess germs, or she can’t stay up too late, because her medicine makes her tired. Even with a few set backs, she doesn’t let it get in the way of what she wants to accomplish. It takes real courage for her to continue on with her condition. She has to put forth more effort and spirit to pursue the things wants, but that only makes them more appreciated after she achieves the. She continues to play sports, practicing up to four times a week. She doesn’t let her Leukemia stop her; she is determined to play varsity soccer in highschool. Currently, she is in Indiana’s Olympic Development Program and is traveling to Germany next spring break to play soccer. She loves the game and will play as long as she can. Mia Hamm, a female soccer player, is Dana’s hero. When Mia Hamm’s brother died, she stayed strong and tried harder then she did before. Dana resembles that, a few set backs, but she strives forward. Accomplishing more through school and soccer, leukemia will not get in her way.

Dana is not only surviving this cancer, but she actively supports organizations and foundations created to help the awareness and provide funding for research. She annually takes part in the Light the Night Walk, which raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Her friends and family join her in this walk to support not only her, but to raise money for others as well. Another organization she supports is the Pennies for Patients that takes place at local schools. Students can donate money for patients who need transplants or biopsies, as well to conduct further research to find a cure. She demonstrated her commitment by speaking at an assembly of high school students who were participating in the Pennies for Patients program. This shows a profusion of courage to stand up in front of high school students and talk about something so life threatening and personal. As for advice to someone newly diagnosed with Leukemia, Dana says “they’ll to be fine, and not stress about it like I did. If they stay strong and keep fighting then they will eventually see success.” That is the quote by which everyone should live. If you keep fighting and stay strong you can and will see success.

Dana is an inspiring young hero for which many should learn. She not only displays courage and strength but has a passion for helping others with similar conditions. She wants to be treated no differently, and wants to strive for her best. Like Odysseus, Dana overcomes many struggles on a daily basis and looks on the more positive side of things. That’s how everyone should pursue their life because you never know what day will be your last.

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