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A Success Story - Carlos Garcia

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Carlos Garcia

Winner of Fall 2007 

Texas Children's Hospital Scholarship

Carlos is a sophomore at the St. Edwards University, majoring in Kinesiology.  He is a two time Osteosarcoma survivor.  Carlos' dream is to someday be able to receive a special sports high-impact leg prosthesis so he can once again play basketball. In his own words:

I am a survivor, a cancer survivor.  I have been a cancer survivor since my first diagnosis in May of 2003.  I was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in my left leg when I was seventeen years old.  I went from an athletic, active guy to being bedridden for months.  I underwent three months of chemotherapy, a limb-salvage surgery where the surgeons took out half of my femur and my knee and inserted a metal prosthesis, and then five more months of chemotherapy.  I endured almost a year of intense pain and chemotherapy. 

I was in remission until June of 2006, when I relapsed.  This time, the tumor was in the muscle above where the original bone tumor had been.  I went from living the life of a sophomore in college to cancer patient and amputee in a matter of weeks.  I went to my oncologist to get the results of my biopsy and was told the cancer had come back and to return in a week for a scheduled above-the-knee amputation.  I barely had enough time to internalize the news that the cancer had returned much less deal with the fact that hey had to take my leg to save my life.  Since the amputation, I have undergone ten rounds of chemotherapy.  Each round I am hospitalized and have to get five days of chemotherapy.  Even though it is hard to face this fight again, it has only confirmed my will to survive this and continue to live my life while helping others suffering like me.  

Surviving cancer has completely changed my life.  Cancer treatment stops your life for a while.  It consumes your every day as you go to the hospital for treatments, blood counts, and checkups.  Chemotherapy leaves you weak and sick from the poison being pumped into your body, and you cannot do the things you would normally do and not think twice about.  I cannot go to school or out with my friends.  Also, being an amputee completely changes your life as well because you do not feel the same after the amputation.  You have to make changes both physically and mentally.  You have to learn to walk again and how to live with a prosthetic limb and all the challenges that brings.  I received my prosthesis right after Christmas this year.

All of these obstacles have changed my life values because I do not worry myself with the material things in life.  I have learned to treasure every day no matter what it brings.  It is a blessing to be alive and breathing.  I have learned to be grateful for all the blessings in my life because I know there are others who are worse off.  More importantly, surviving cancer has given my life another purpose.  I want to help those who are also suffering from this disease and are facing rehabilitation like I am. 

As far as my career goals, I want to become a physical therapist because I know I can encourage others who are facing the same obstacles I face.  Getting through treatment is very difficult and it really helps to have someone who has gone through it.  I want to be the person that others can turn to.  I can encourage them and say that if I can do it, they can do it. 

When cancer affects you, it forever changes what you find important in life.  What matters to me now are my relationships with: God, my family and my friends and treasuring every day no matter what it brings.  Going through cancer treatments shows you that life is too short and fragile to worry about the material things in life.

I am so appreciative of my family and friends, and especially for Cancer Survivors' Fund for giving me the opportunity to use my cancer experience as a stepping stone for the future.  The Weekly Motivational Messages are so inspirational and great for lifting my spirits on tough days.  Thank you Cancer Survivors' Fund for all your support and caring.

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