A Fighter Until Death

December 5, 2008
By Crystal Miller, Mount Hermon, LA

My older sister, Alison, was a sickly child from the day of her birth. She was in and out of hospitals with many medical problems. When she became twelve years old, her illnesses became more severe. A doctor diagnosed one illness as a virus, but that proved to be incorrect; instead, it was much worse. Throughout her battles, she remained a constant fighter, determined to make the most of her life. My sister, at such a young ago, demonstrated a kind of mental and physical strength that most of us could only imagine.

Her first major battle occurred the day she was diagnosed with Hotchkins Disease Lymphoma, a type of cancer. Since at first it was diagnosed as a mere virus, time was wasted; so much time that this cancer had already hit its third stage. The impact of finding out that her “virus” was actually a life-threatening illness, hit her like a ton of bricks, but she refused to bow.

Between these battles, Alison was a great person to be around the majority of the time. She had a very comical personality. She could laugh so hard at the silliest things that other people couldn’t help but laugh, too. She didn’t care what other people thought of her; she did things the way she wanted them to be done.

This fun, comical, care-free person began to show a totally different side to her personality. She allowed Lymphoma to demonstrate her mean streak; and from my personal experience with her, I knew hat mean streak could be extremely strong and perpetual. It had knocked her down, but she was making her way back up with a vengeance. She showed great determination at all times against this monster of a disease. It was a determination to live even though she knew how easily it could cause her to die. She fought with no mercy against this cancer. She was facing immense battles, inside and out, mentally and physically. She was faced with the option to give up or fight every minute of every day, and she always chose to fight. No matter the doubt many doctors had, the pain she felt, or the severity of this cancer, in addition to her many other illnesses, she always chose to fight.

Since the age of ten, Alison had dreamed of celebrating her thirteenth birthday. Many people did not believe she would survive until that day, but I did not have a doubt in my mind. Her thirteenth birthday arrived March 7. She was barely conscious of what was going on, but she had a party just like she had always wanted. She knew that she had reached her goal, but still she continued to fight.

Two months later, the surrender came. The struggle was over. Alison could continue no longer, and God took away her struggle. I have never known a person so young to have such tremendous strength. Alison was a fighter until death, and she will always be my hero and my inspiration.

The author's comments:
For those who have never experienced death of someone so close and dearly loved as a sister, life's challenges should be met with perspective. I encourage anyone who shares this experience to write even if it is never shared. I have found that it is much easier to express myself through writing rather than speaking. As a writer, I actually feel I have a voice and it allows me to keep the memory of my sister alive.

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