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Second Chances

Many people take for granted the life that they are given, the health that they have. Many people do not include sophomore Angela P******. Angela was a normal four year old girl who loved playing with her dolls and learning her ABC’s with the other children in preschool. She was following a path that had been worn by so many before her, that is until the day she was told the news that would she would carry with her for the rest of her life. At four years old, Angela P****** was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia.

In an instant her whole world changed. She was no longer just an average little girl on the swing set, testing how high she could go. Instead, she spent her days in the hospital, going back and forth from Reno to Oakland in the hopes for a cure. “Every time I went out I would have to wear a hospital mask because my immune system was so weak. A lot of things changed, I lost all my hair, gained a lot of weight due to the steroids they put me through, everything had to be thoroughly sterilized, and people who came to visit me had to wash their hands before they even came near me,” Angela recalled. The next few years for her would be more bitter and exhausting than most people could imagine facing in their entire lives. “I went through steroids, bone-marrow transplants, and lots of blood work. I remember the pain from all of it, and how I hated the needles,” she confides. But there was one thing that kept her going through her battle with the cancer, her family. “Just knowing that they were always going to be there for me made me feel a lot better.” From the beginning her family knew it would be a hard road, but it was one they were willing to take in order to save their child.

“I wasn’t really in school much during kindergarten to first grade because I always got sick with fevers and even the smallest fevers I would have to be admitted to the hospital,” Angela explained. But as she got older, she never let the disease get the best of her. By the second grade she was back, determined to be in school as much as possible. And people realized this determination in Angela, and wanted to help her in any way they could. “I had a teacher in the second grade and she ran a whole marathon for kids with leukemia and she ran with my name on her tag, it really made me feel special.” She recalled. Angela was also granted three wishes from the Make-A-Wish foundation, a group that helps realize the dreams of children with life threatening diseases.

“I always wanted a normal childhood and I didn’t have that. It was hard spending 24/7 in a hospital bed doing nothing but drawing pictures and watching TV.” Angela explained. But through the hardest of times, she stayed strong and never gave up, and it finally paid off. The best day her life came when she heard that the cancer was finally gone. “It was such a great relief that tears of joy came out!” Angela is currently in remission, only seeing her doctor once a year where they check her blood work and make sure everything is going smoothly and there are no signs of the disease returning. She said, “Now that I’m all better I like to travel and just be around friends, music is my passions so I play violin, and art, I love to draw and paint.” Today, Angela is enjoying the rest of her childhood, knowing it is something that she will never take for granted. “I was given a second chance at life, and I will cherish it.”





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