I am a high honor roll, rising senior from Washington DC. I am a competitive swimmer for, the top-ranked swim club in the country. I have competed on my school’s varsity swim team throughout high school where I am a record holder on the 200 and 400 Free Style Relay teams. My dedication to swimming inspired me to launch a business as a youth swim instructor where I am passionate about teaching Black and Brown children to swim and about water safety while reducing stereotypes. Since the second grade, I have wanted to become a doctor so that I can “help people” in communities where quality health care is not easily accessible. I aspire to pursue my M.D., MPH and dedicate my life to addressing health disparities at the local, national and global levels.
Upon diagnosis, what was your first thought?
I was in disbelief. I could not believe what was happening.
Sometimes it’s hard to “thrive,” we all have days where we are just trying to survive. What is something that gets you through on the hardest days?
My faith in God and prayer. I am fortunate to have great friends and a strong community. Some of my friends have been friends since I was a baby. That has been helpful for me.
Who is another woman you have admired on this journey that has shared a similar experience with breast cancer/cancer (please type what type of cancer you had/have)?
I am surrounded by supportive and strong women in my life who I admire and who have been there for me on my journey. I am blessed and fortunate to not have anyone else I know share a similar experience or diagnosed with myxoid liposarcoma.
We all need a good support system; who makes up yours?
My friends, my family. I am lucky to be a part of a “village” where my friends are more like cousins. My parents have been amazing and strong while helping me find my voice.
Through your journey, what are some resources you have found that would be helpful to other women?
Because I was so young and because I have never met anyone else with the same experience, I was grateful to have a wonderful team of doctors that took the time to explain things to me.
What is something society gets wrong about young women battling breast cancer and cancer in general?
I think that society may not know the severity and the impact that going through something like this has on any person no matter the age. It is very hard and scary for a child to go through this journey.
You come across another woman who has just received her diagnosis. What is one piece of advice you’d have for them at that moment?
Surround yourself with supportive people whether they are friends, family or others who can be there. Keep the faith. Prayer worked for me.
Because we have to (we love music here) - what’s the last song you listened to?