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A Success Story - Genovieve Gibson

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Genovieve Gibson      

Genovieve has graduated from  Utah State University in Logan, Utah, majoring in Psychology.  Genovieve's journey with cancer has led her to pursue a graduate degree in Psychological Oncology in order to serve future cancer patients.  She has survived Ewing's Sarcoma.  In her own words:

A few days before my 19th birthday, I was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, and my world changed dramatically.  Like many others, I imagined the possibility of a surprise cancer attack before, but when reality set in, it took me a while to process it.  Sometimes I still do not believe the crazy, difficult and rewarding life I am living right now. 

As an ambitious college student at the time of my diagnosis, I thought of all the things that I was determined to do in my life: travel plans, educational goals, and personal dreams that cancer was standing in the way of.  For me, sitting back and allowing this disease to take away my dreams was not an option.  More determined than ever, I decided to fight right away with a long road of chemotherapy and intense radiation ahead.  The best thing I can do is believe in myself, and so here I sit in my hospital room, with a positive mind, planning and looking forward to the years ahead that I will be able to enjoy.  I know I made the right choice to join the amazing army of men and women battling cancer everywhere. 

I have always been one to plan ahead and work hard as an individual to complete my goals.  These are two things that have been greatly impacted by my diagnosis and treatment plan.  I can no longer make solid day-to-day plans as I never know how I will feel after a chemotherapy session or if another complication will arise.  However, my long-term dreams are what keep me going on tough days and will be what makes this challenge worth it in the end.  I have learned that with a positive mind, I can live each day to the best of my ability and accomplish anything.  Everyday I like to think, 'Today is the best day of my life, and hopefully tomorrow will be too!'  The past few months my family and friends have taken it upon themselves to support and take care of me during my weakened state.  I am beyond grateful for their commitment.  Since most of my independence has been taken from me during this trial, I have learned to ask for help and in return, I have received charitable assistance. 

Service that I plan on giving back to the community in my healthy future includes running blood and bone marrow drives on college campuses, as donations like these have allowed cancer warriors like myself to become cancer survivors.  I also plan on bringing the generous 'Love Your Melon' Foundation to every college campus as they raise more and more money everyday to help end childhood cancer.  There are endless ways I can give back to the cancer community, and I cannot wait to get started. 

I remember passing the halfway milestone of my chemotherapy sessions; I was so overjoyed!  Sometime back, my family took a day and biked the Hiawatha trail in Northern Idaho.  The road leads you through eleven old railway tunnels, the longest one being 1.66 miles, making for a long and dark ride through.  There is a certain point in the tunnel where my surroundings became pitch black, and the only thing guiding me was the headlamp secured to my helmet.  When we were about halfway through the tunnel, I finally saw a speck of sunlight ahead of me and I was able to peddle a little faster, in order to get out of the dark just a little bit sooner.  When I found myself halfway finished with the treatments, and as my doctors continued to give me positive reports, the light at the end of the tunnel continued to get bigger and I peddled stronger and faster than before.  Being able to plan things for the future only makes me more anxious and excited to work harder in order to return to school and a healthy life.

When people ask me what I want to do when I finished my treatment, they were normally surprised that I was so excited to return to school.  I plan on continuing my pursuit of a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.  After spending countless hours in the hospital, I met impressive people who inspired me to assist and comfort others through their battles the way many have helped me. 

Battling cancer has inspired me to take my psychology degree into the medical field and continue with graduate studies, specializing in psychosocial oncology.  I believe an education is the best gift we can give ourselves, and I will be successful using my education to better the lives of those around me.  Thinking about my future goals only makes me more anxious and delighted to continue my education and make a difference in childhood cancer. 

Whenever we are faced with a life-threatening challenge, our ancestral survival instincts kick in.  I continue to search for anything more that will help me endure this battle to the best of my body and spirit's ability.  Both physically and spiritually, I am working the hardest I ever have to keep going, and as my doctors give me positive reports, it is all worth it to know I am heading in the right direction.  As humans, we will do anything to survive.  So we fight, and we come together with support in such a battle, I believe we will win.

I am wonderfully excited about the scholarship and working with so many great people.  Thank you so much Cancer Survivors' Fund for all your guidance and support.

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