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A Success Story - Antonio Figueieredo

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Antonio Figueieredo

Tony is attending the University at Buffalo (SUNY), in Buffalo, New York, majoring in Biology/Pre-Med.  Antonio's struggle with cancer has taught him to take life 'one day at a time' and not allow any obstacle to keep him from reaching his goals: the reward is worth every struggle.  Due to the expert care he received from his doctors and medical care professionals, Antonio has set his goal to be one of their colleagues.  He is an Osteosarcoma survivor.  In his own words:

“I am truly humbled that I was able to keep my leg ...

From the beginning of our lives, we deal with many obstacles. Overcoming obstacles is just a part of life. Some may be harder than others, but the trade-off has the potential of being worth it. I have experienced many obstacles in my life. However, none had ever been as grueling as the one I must now overcome. Although it may be difficult, prevailing over cancer will produce the greatest gift of all.

In October of my senior year, I was diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer known as Osteosarcoma. I will always remember sitting in the examination room with my parents; my dad leaving the room to go get water repeatedly as we eagerly awaited the diagnosis. Only the sounds of shredding paper filled the air as I fidgeted on the thin paper, that coating on the examination bed. At last there were two knocks on the door followed by two doctors entering the room. After a quick introduction, they began examining my left knee as well as the MRI films. I started to become edgy as the tension in the room reached critical mass. Finally the older doctor spoke, 'Your condition is very serious.' Hearing these words stunned me. I felt a sensation as if my lungs had been punctured. My body became numb with fear, petrifying me. What was to become of my future? This was unquestionably the hardest thing I had ever faced. I know overcoming it will not be easy - nevertheless, I must succeed.

Each of us, everyday, strives to reach our goals in order to reap some type of reward. In my case, my reward will be good health. Overcoming cancer will allow me to continue my life to the fullest. No matter how difficult the process of achieving this goal may be, I must focus only on the reward. Even though it has become a cliché, I must truly 'take one day at a time.' My treatments are vital in reaching my goal. However, it created other obstacles in other goals such as graduating high school. I had to have tutors to aid me in my schoolwork at home. During one lesson, right after my first treatment, I started to feel tired. I stared blankly at the pre-calculus homework as if it was some forgotten language. My mind began to ache and it felt like every sound had been amplified. Within only thirty minutes of the lesson, it seemed to me that the room had become a high-speed carousel. I finally passed out. Facing these obstacles and overcoming them were extremely important. The reward is worth every struggle.

When problems emerge in our lives, we must take the initiative and work towards the reward. Fighting Osteosarcoma is the hardest thing I have ever faced. The pressures of the obstacles cannot discourage me. Cancer alone will not define me as a person. Instead it will push me and grant me the power needed to overcome any obstacle.

Thank you Cancer Survivors' Fund for helping me pursue my education.  Thank you to all the wonderful people I met at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital in Westchester Medical Center for their encouraging words and all who helped me through this unexpected journey, and a special thanks to Doctor Samuel Kenan, who was able to save my leg, and Doctor Oya Tuga who has been by my side and still is." 

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