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A Success Story - Meghan Henry

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Meghan Henry 

Meghan is attending Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois, majoring in nursing.  Even Meghan's nearly two-year battle with cancer has not kept her from her high school activities and her Irish Dancing Feis (competition).  She is a Wilm's' Tumor (Nephroblastoma) survivor.  In her own words:

ďI was diagnosed with kidney cancer at the age of 16. On September 24, 2005, I was diagnosed with Stage II Wilm's Tumor.  I had my tumor and right kidney removed and underwent 6 months of chemotherapy.  On August 9, 2006, the cancer relapsed into my lungs.  It did not respond to months of standard chemotherapy, so in January and February a double stem cell rescue was performed, followed by radiation therapy.  Many months of rehabilitation followed.

My educational, career, and future goals all revolve around self motivation. I want to be a nurse so I can help other people. When I was younger, I wanted to be a missionary nun.  I realize this is strange, but Iíve always felt called to travel the world and help those in impoverished countries.  My interests have altered slightly, but one thing remains the same: I want to help those in need.  Iíll see where life takes me and if I ever make it to Africa or just stay in the U.S. and help all the people in need here.  I went on a mission trip to West Virginia the summer of sophomore year to do house repairs for people who couldnít afford it.  I felt at home and when I was serving others.  Helping others and being selfless are major qualities you will find in most physicians and nurses.  These are just a few reasons why I want to go into the medical field.

The time I've spent in the hospital over the last two years has really made me interested in the study of medicine.  All of my oncology nurses have inspired me to help others in the way they've helped save my life.  I am also anxious to become a nursing student, because I believe I have a unique outlook to the job.  After being a patient and spending lengthy amounts of time in the hospital, I have met a lot of inspiring people.  I believe in taking unfortunate experiences and growing and learning from them.  
      Iíve already had extended experience in the hospital with my own personal problems.  As a teenager fighting cancer, Iíve become friends with my nurses and gotten to know them on a very personal level.  They are my inspiration; my role models.  I hope to be as successful, driven, and dedicated to my patients as they are.  I have learned from them that you must be very organized, patient, and focused in completing tasks.  It is a fast paced and emotionally draining job, but I feel Iím up for the challenge.

I have a basis for good moral values deriving from my childhood.  My parents as well as religious life have taught me right from wrong.  These and other life lessons I believe I will carry with me always, and they will never truly fade.  In addition, our values are constantly altered throughout our lives as we become wiser through experiences we've dealt with.  Having cancer has taught me to truly value the good in people, and trust the strength of family and friends.  So many strangers have bestowed kind gifts and heartfelt outreach to myself and my family through our rough time and it is truly inspiring.  More importantly, I learned to value different things within myself.  Losing my hair was one of the hardest things for me upon my initial diagnosis, but in the end it taught me a lot.  I used to spend hours doing my hair and make up in the morning, and would have probably looked at a bald girl as someone foreign and hard to approach.  Now I realize these differences on the outside reveal little to nothing about who the person truly is.  When I get my treatment, I see so many young children who are suffering and some who I know will be killed from this disease.  I donít care about what anyone thinks of me anymore in my appearance.  I was always self conscious in this way, so I see it as a challenge from God to only care about how He sees me and not the rest of the world.  This whole thing really helped me to not judge people, and to care about what really matters. 'God judges persons differently than humans do.  Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.' Samuel 16:7.  I think I was well prepared to handle this and I can look at the tumor as a blessing in some ways.  It helped me find a strength in myself that I never knew was there.  The experience has made me stronger and more thankful for every day I am given.

Thank you so much for this scholarship.  After all I've been through, this is very special to be recognized and to be able to inspire and help others.  Thank you, Cancer Survivors' Fund!Ē

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