After having sporadic pain in my leg for six months I
was ultimately diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma at the
age of 14. I underwent twelve weeks of chemotherapy
before having surgery to remove the tumor from my
right tibia. The surgery forced me to be confined to a
wheelchair, but I knew I had to continue the fight
against the disease. I continued chemotherapy
treatments and finally finished over a year after
diagnosis. While undergoing treatment I learned
invaluable lessons about life, the kindness of the human
spirit and a lot about myself.
My experience with cancer helped to shape how I live my daily life, and also helped influence my
goals and aspirations. I am currently double majoring in Elementary Education and English at
Stonehill College, with hopes of one day becoming a teacher. Throughout my treatment my
teachers were a solid support system that helped me stay involved with classmates and friends
when I could not physically be there with them. Without that support, handling the emotional and
mental aspects of treatment would have been nearly impossible. Although I have a love for
education, my true passion lies in helping others cope with and survive cancer. Knowing how
much I needed and appreciated support while dealing with my own battle, I want to be able to help
children (and their families) who are undergoing these horrific treatments. My ideal job is to work
in a hospital or other medical setting teaching children who are too ill to attend their normal classes.
By combing my devotion to education and my passion for making a difference in the lives of
oncology patients I know that I will be truly happy.
But, before I graduate and one day achieve those goals, I want to get the most out of my college
experience. I love being able to try new things and I embrace the challenges and new situations that
I encounter while at school. Throughout my first year I learned more about myself and the world
around me than I ever thought possible. Now, I hope that as I continue my college career that I am
able to experience even more new and exciting things.
Shari Van Puyvelde
University of Wisconsin
Cancer...the word strikes like a gunshot to the chest, the
wound that never heals. This word, though meaningless to
some, affects the lives of many children and their families.
In January of 1997 I was diagnosed with metastasis Ewing's
Sarcoma. I underwent a full years worth of treatment which
included chemotherapy, radiation, and a stemcell transplant.
Having cancer was scary, and both mentally and physically
challenging, but it also taught me valuable lessons and made
me a stronger person. My volunteer activities are centered on
organizations such as the Children's Cancer Research Fund
and the American Cancer Society. During the course of my
treatment, I had contact with numerous doctors, nurses and
other medical professionals. My admiration for them caused
me to hope that someday I would be able to help others as
they helped me.
Cancer is a great teacher, the best I've had. Without it, I would not have the caring and
understanding that has become such an important part of my life. As I enter the Nursing
Program at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire, I feel that my life experience as a cancer
survivor offers something that not every student can give.
Michael T. Warren
University of Northern Colorado
"A Changed Outlook"
Not a day goes by when I don't hear those words again
"Michael, you may have cancer." I remember sitting in
that cold, pale office thoughts racing through my head,
"No way! Things like this happen to other kids, not me.
There has to be another explanation." Several days later,
my worst fear was coming true. It was a month after my
16th birthday, and I was about to be diagnosed with
Ewing's Sarcoma in my left knee.
My 9 month battle with bone cancer was the biggest struggle of my life. But
through it I have learned so much, and I'm a better person, now, then I was before my
illness. Since beating caner I have learned how to persevere, and with every new struggle I
know I can get through it. My school work reflects that mind set. Cancer took away my
ability to play sports but it also gave me a dream for a career. At the University of
Northern Colorado I am studying to become a physical therapist. I would never have had
this dream if I hadn't spent countless hours with PT's after having my knee replaced. My
life has changed in every aspect, and while no one should have to go through an illness like
bone caner I wish everyone could learn the things I have from it.
My clothes mask the physical scars left from my illness, but the way I have been
changed mentally from cancer shines in everything I do. I'm constantly growing and
learning from it all the time. Everyday I think back to those words from my doctor and I
am grateful. For there in that small exam room my life began to change in big ways.
The Kyle Lee Foundation, Inc.