Special Education Teacher at Chesterfield County Public Schools
Back on February 16, 2001, I was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor called medulloblastoma. At ten years-old the only things I cared about were playing with my friends, swimming at my neighborhood pool, riding my bike around my neighborhood, and playing baseball, but cancer ended that in a moments notice.
After my diagnosis, I was not able to play the sport I loved or hang out with my friends, because my days were spent in treatment at the ASK Clinic at VCU Health. The one thing I learned early on was that cancer changes your life in an instant, and since I was undergoing cancer treatment my immune system was compromised and therefore, I could not participate in all the “normal” activities I was accustomed to. Thankfully I was introduced to the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation “ASK” and was able to explore some “normal” activities and live my life while in treatment.
My last treatment was in June of 2002, and without the support of the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation, I am not sure I would be in the position I am today. I like to say cancer in itself was a gift, and it provided me so many opportunities that I probably would have never been able to explore if it were not for that one day in February 2001.
Once a family hears the most dreaded “C” word, they don’t know what will happen next, or where life will lead them. Children in Richmond and surrounding areas in Virginia who are diagnosed with cancer spend much of their days in isolation at the ASK Cancer Clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond undergoing treatment. Their much-loved adventure with friends comes to a jolting holt, and their “new normal” begins. Hospital says, multiple doctors’ appointments, blood tests, infusions, surgeries, and homebound tutoring miniplate their day.
Children are meant to live their lives and kids, and not have a worry in the world, which is why the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation is here. ASK was founded in 1975 by a small group of parents whose children were cancer patients at MCV Hospital (now VCU Health) in Richmond, VA. Since it’s establishment, ASK has grown immensely due to the high volume of kids who are diagnosed with cancer each year. On average 1-2 kids are diagnosed with cancer each week right here in our community. Currently 100-125 kids are in active treatment at the ASK Clinic, and 400 plus are served through the long-term survivorship clinic.
Through ASK, children and families are given the opportunity to live their life as intended through multiple programs. ASK offers emotional support, financial assistance, family support, bereavement care, educational support, sibling support, social wellness support, family events, events for Young Adult Cancer Survivors (YACS), and so much more for pediatric cancer patients and their families.
ASK makes an impact on so many people’s lives right here in the commonwealth, and I can say first-hand that if it were not for them, I would not be where I am today. I recently joined the Ambassador program because I have a desire to give back to an organization that has provided me so much through the years. By making a donation to my page you will join me in helping to provide Assistance Support and Kindness to our community’s youngest cancer patients.