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A Success Story - Brandal McCormack

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Brandal McCormack

Sharing his Success Story - CSF Gala 2007

Brandal is attending Baylor University in Waco, Texas, majoring in Church Recreation.  His experience with cancer has taught him the art of perseverance and a strong will to succeed.  He is a Medulloblastoma (Brain Tumor) survivor.  In his own words:

“No child or his family can ever be prepared for the life-changing diagnosis of cancer.  When, at the age of seven, I began this journey with my family, little did we know how our lives and the lives around us would be changed - although for the better.  I had just lost my grandfather to a malignant brain tumor less than two months before finding out I, too, had a brain tumor.  No one could imagine why our faith was being tested again so soon.  However, as I have looked back over the eleven years since my diagnosis, I have been reminded on many occasions of how trusting God and His plans for my life ministered to so many other people.  As a survivor of brain cancer, I have learned to really appreciate life and the many opportunities I've had to be active in all aspects of growing up.  I've learned how often people take 'good health' for granted and how fortunate I am to have been healthy for the ten years since I completed my treatment.

I had a Medulloblastoma brain tumor.  I received multiple treatments of radiation and chemotherapy as well as physical therapy after losing all of my strength in the left side of my body.  I could not walk and slowly progressed through a wheelchair, a walker, and slowly began to walk again.  It was a long journey for me and my family, but I learned so much through those years about how much my parents, family members, and friends loved me.  I also learned that many times that we cannot be in control of every situation and that we just have to give it up to God and trust that He will take care of us because He knows what is best.  One of the most amazing things that I found while being in the hospital was that God must have some amazing plans for my life because He chose to keep me here on earth through that whole tragedy, and I can't wait to find out what those are.  Those were some scary years in my life, but I wouldn't trade them.

Because I had to rely so much on other people in the hospital, at school, and at home during my year of treatment and afterwards, it is my personal passion and desire to encourage and help people in need.  The love of my friends and family gave me a strong fighting spirit that I needed while fighting cancer, and now I find it much easier to overcome obstacles whenever they come my way.

I know that the academic challenges of college-level learning will be even more difficult than those that I've faced so far.  However, I am committed to being successful in all areas of college life.  I plan to pursue a career in church recreation ministry or youth pastoral work, and I hope that my life experiences will allow me to reach others with a message of hope.  I am confident that the academic and social settings at Baylor will further equip me for a life of service.

I cannot begin to say how much of a blessing it is for me to receive this gracious scholarship.  I have only been a part of the Cancer Survivors' Fund family for just a couple of months, but it's truly been a great part of my life.  I've received numerous great emails and words of encouragement to keep me going when the tough times come along.  Cancer Survivors' Fund is not just an organization that sends money to your college, but they continue to follow up with me and make sure that I'm being strong wherever I go and to be encouraging to others through my story.

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