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A Success Story - Gabriela Pena

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Gabriela Pena

Winner of Kim Perrot Scholarship

Gabriela is a sophomore at the University of Houston, majoring in Journalism.  She has survived Osteosarcoma.  Gabriela was diagnosed with cancer at age 12 and had a below-the-knee amputation during the same year.  Ironically, she has found courage, joy, a positive outlook on life, maturity, and a sense of humor through her experience.  In her own words:

"I have had many challenges in my life that are irreplaceable in creating the courageous person I am today.  I am a very happy person about life and finding the irony that exists within it.

Above all, I like being a role model to my other siblings, especially to my little sisters as they all see what I have accomplished. 

Cancer, osteosarcoma, amputation, and prosthesis were all words I did not know much about or words I ever expected to describe myself with.  I also did not understand that what each of these words represented would shape the path I would have to lead; my identity, my maturity, and my appreciation of life have been molded by what I have experienced after the realization that I had cancer.

When I think about my life, I feel like I almost cheated death and sometimes wonder why I was chosen out of so many other children that shared the same illness with me.

I would also love to continue doing volunteer work, especially for something as necessary as helping others who are about to experience what I did.  So in a recollection of my life, I believe cancer not only gave me life values, but it helped me appreciate the value of my life.

 We look forward to sharing with Gabriela her future success as she furthers her education with a new prosthesis and continuous encouragement provided by Cancer Survivors' Fund.

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