"The major turning point in my life would have to be my experience with cancer, and all of
the "life lessons" I have learned from it. When confronted with a major crisis such as cancer,
there is only one successful way of dealing with it: fight fire with fire, face your demons head
on and never give up or give in. As I have found out, there is nothing more powerful than
someone who believes in themselves. Battling cancer has given me the strength to take on any
adversity that is thrown my way. Surviving this whole ordeal is by far my proudest
accomplishment. My battle with cancer has affected my values and career goals in more ways
than one and continues to influence my life daily.

I am currently enrolled at the University of Mississippi, where my major is Journalism with an
emphasis on Public Relations. One day I hope to work for a hospital, maybe St. Jude, to help
raise awareness and funds for cancer eradication. I also am a public speaker for St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital and The Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South Region."

The Kyle Lee Foundation, Inc.
Lindsay Harwell
University of Mississippi
Cassandra Hayne
University of Northern Iowa

"In my determination to more quickly meet my goal
to find a cure I decided that 4 years in high school
was much too long. This June, I will be the first
person in the history of my school (to the
administration's knowledge) to graduate in 3 years. I
am going to enter college this fall with majors in
Biochemistry, Biology: Biomedical Science, and
Biology: Microbiology. I have already been
accepted into the honors program. I hope that
college will prepare me for entry into a good medical
school where I can obtain my M.D. The topic I am
thinking about pursuing right now is immunology,
which I think is fascinating. I feel I am fully capable
of doing anything I really set my mind to do. When I
told my oncologist, during an annual appointment, I
wanted to do medical research she invited me to
work in her lab over a summer. During the summer
of 2006, I worked in her lab for 2 months. We are
taught from a young age to find a job we like, this
experience showed me that working in a lab is my
dream job. Cancer has impacted my life because it
has made me who I am today and has given me a
passion to find the cure for cancer. In 10 years I
hope to be working in a medical research facility and
on my way to finding a low side effect or alternative
cure for cancer."

Eric Imhof
University of Oklahoma

"From what I viewed as the rubble of my life,
amazing energy began to bloom all around me.
Friends, family, neighbors, and hospital staff
rallied around and lifted me up with hope,
inspiration, and knowledge. Their selflessness
taught me the gift and joy of being that same rock
for others. I now volunteer my time to those
facing a similar diagnosis, providing a listening
ear, positive encouragement, and practical tips
for the road ahead. In addition, I have
transformed my passion for service, politics, and
patriotism into advocacy, rallying support for
children's cancer funding and drug research.

Andrea Hattan
University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Sean Hammack
University of Notre Dame

"Knowing that Hospice was preparation for the
patient's final days on this earth, I wanted to
prove everyone wrong. I had worked hard my
entire life in school in hopes of attending the
University of Notre Dame, and I wasn't about
to quit that dream. I had applied to the school
earlier in the year, but had not yet received
notification of acceptance. In the first week of
April, I received my letter from Notre Dame. At
that time, I could not have taken any negative
thoughts in my head, so I didn't open the
letterfor several days. When I finally opened my
letter, I found that I had been accepted. I was
so overwhelmed with a sense of
accomplishment that I cried. My whole life's
dream was coming true. Knowing I couldn't
attend that year, I requested a year deferment. It
is unexplainable what happened in the next
couple of months. I began feeling better and
had surpassed the life expectancy that the
doctors had bestowed on me.

It was getting nearer to my graduation, and I was still bedridden. So, I began working harder in
my physical therapy. My new goal was to walk at graduation to receive my diploma. With weeks
of strenuous work, I went to my graduation. And yes, I walked (with a cane) to get my
diploma. That was and is the proudest moment of my life so far."
Antonia Kacynski
Edgewood College

"Chemotherapy affects all cells, good and bad, so I was going to lose my hair, as well as
my complexion, but I was one of the lucky ones; I survived cancer and have been in
remission for over a year. I recently prayed about something very frivolous and then came
to the realization that while I was going through cancer treatment, I never once prayed to be
cured. I reaked that God either wanted me to be with him again, or he had great plans in
mind for me later in life. So I survived the hard times and persevered through the difficulties
that followed.

I now plan to attend the University of Nebraska in Lincoln to major in News-Editorial due
to a part time job opportunity with Joel Sartore. I plan to eventually become a National
Geographic magazine photographer myself. My goal is to accomplish something unique
every summer of my college career. The first summer, I would lske to intern at Rock and
Ice magazine in Carbondale, Colorado. Each following summer, I have a variety of ideas:
work at a newspaper in Alaska, become a ski instructor in Switzerland, intern at the
National Geographic's Travel magazine, or study abroad and possibly teach Enghh in a
foreign country. I also plan to pledge the Chi Omega sorority because they are actively
involved in the Make A Wish foundation. It is very important for me to give back to an
organization that has done so much to enrich my life. Overall, having cancer has brought
extreme grief to my life, but it has left me with amazing incite, opportunities and
experiences that I never would have otherwise known. The term 'cancer survivor '
has became not only a title that classifies me, but a phrase that defines me."

2007-2008 Recipients

"How am I going to spend my time here on earth?
Ever since my first of three diagnoses of Ewings
Sarcoma, this question happens to be extremely
prominent in my life. Cancer changed everything. It
changed the way I look, think and act on life. I no
longer quickly pass by the small moments people
seem to forget. I take everything in. Every possible
positive thing about life is what makes me keep on
living the best that I can. I have learned that life is
much too short to dwell on the past or wony about
the future. Living in the moment is crucial to my
healing process. I will be healing for the rest of my
life, for cancer may be cured from the body, but it
will never leave my mind, or my heart. The only
way to heal from the trauma and loss I have
experienced is just to live. To live loudly for the
people unable to speak, to live with full awareness
for those who cannot hear. To live in full stride for
those who can't walk, and to live with a loving
infectious spirit, for those who cannot love today."

Today I battle an enemy from within, a type of cancer that will never show signs of full
surrender. Testing and uncertainty will become a part of the rest of my life. However, this
fight has intensified an inner strength and determination that I now realize had only been
partially tapped in the past. Despite chemotherapy, cruel side effects, surgery, and endless
scans, I will graduate with honors this spring and join the University of Oklahoma's freshman
class in the fall. Inspired by the technology used to rebuild my leg and the vision of
improving the lives of others facing a similar devastating diagnosis, I plan to study the
intersection of engineering and medicine with a major in bioengineering. My vision of the
future is still blurred but I refuse to let cancer steal any further dreams and plans. Cancer will
be no more than a distant, sad, brief, but inspirational memory."

"Throughout my two surgeries and radiation, I was dedicated to playing soccer on
my college woman's soccer team. However, due to my absences for treatment my
college coach withdrew his support of me and did not ask me to return for the 2007
season. The coach began as a very compassionate person supporting me through the first
surgery. But, he became intolerant with the second surgery and radiation that followed,
and ended up not believing in me. I thank God everyday for the others that supported me
encouraged me and kept me strong. Although I am uncertain of God's plan for me, I
know He meant for me to be in that car accident to save my life.

I am currently a Junior at GCSU and plan to graduate in the fall of 2009 with a
General Business major. After I graduate fiom college, I hope to live and work in the
Atlanta area. The reason I chose business as my major is because I love interacting with
people. I have accepted a lifeguard position this summner working on the Outer Banks of
North Carolina with the US National Park Service. In preparation for my summer work I
have recently completed a pediatric and adult CPR certification course in Macon,
Georgia, and am currently taking a Life Saving Course outside of my classes at GCSU.
Radiation treatments kept me fiom working for the NPS on the Outer Banks life guarding
last summer, but not this year. By having gone through what I have, I am excited to share
my good news experience with others encouraging them through their struggles. I
questioned my faith while going through this experience and God made me stronger for
it.. .a struggle I need to share with others."

Erin Krueger
Georgia College & State University
Amy Manzulich
West Carolina University

"Cancer has affected my life and it has affected my
future goals somewhat. More than anything, it has
created awareness, strength and determination in me.
I am more of a go-getter than I ever have been, and I
realize now what life is and who is important in my
life. I am not afraid of the world; I have nearly stared
the possibility of death square in the face-fear is no
longer an issue in my life. It has been a long hard
road to travel, but it is a road that has made me who
I am. I am proud to say that I am Amy Manzulich,
survivor. I am proud to say that cancer has not held
me back for the sole reason that I did not let it. After
beating a terminal-illness, I feel as if I can take on the
world. I know what I am capable of now, physically
and mentally. I have also found myself emotionally.
Going through the cancer experience has changed
my life for the better and caused me to mature much
more rapidly than others my age."

Sam Michalak
Allegheny College
"Having gone through experiences like fighting cancer
and dealing with its aftereffects has made me appreciate
life. I do not worry about trivial things, unlike everyone
else I know who is my age. This tends to make me
unsympathetic to the complaints of everyday life. After
being in a near death situation, the drama of high school
loses some of its importance. When people get all
worked up because they did not do well on a test or they
are not sure if someone likes them, my attitude is, for
better or worse, get over it.

Steven Payne
Indiana University
"So, today as I reflect back on this journey, I have decided to live each day to the
fullest and look forward and not backwards. My goals are simple. I want to go to college
and have a normal college experience, something I never had in high school. 1 want to enjoy
the people in my life and not take for granted what life has to offer. I want to help others
who have had to face cancer. I have been involved in Relay for Life the past two years. I
also have been on a radio-a-thon for Make a Wish. I am volunteering at Children's Memorial
Hospital this summer and will join a volunteer program to help other kids who must face
stem cell transplant. I don't know what the future holds but I do know that each day is
precious to me."

At the same time, surviving cancer has given me immense confidence and personal
strength. If I can survive having one of my kidneys removed with a grapehit size tumor on
it, followed by months of chemotherapy, I can absolutely make it through this calculus test
or finish this cross country workout. Given the choice I would definitely have chosen not
to have had cancer. But since I was not given the choice, I am going to use the experience
to motivate me to make a difference in the world."

Deandra Pensini
Bethel University
"For a while I only had one goal in life and that
was beating cancer. Now I have many
goals and they all revolve around my helping
heart. My goals are different triathlons with
different training routes, but I will train hard.
They start at Bethel University where I will
double major in nursing and social work.
Reaching this educational and career goal will
provide me with excellent training to continue on
professionally. But my goals do not stop there; I
will then have developed endurance to go back
to school to become a certiJied chemotherapy
nurse and later for an oncology nurse
practitioner. These goals are all achievable, and
with the right training and conditioning, I will
mmter them all. It is cool to see how someday
because I experienced the greatest triathlon ever,
I will be able to become a coach to help others
though the rigorous lge and training schedule as
a nurse practitioner and volunteer social worker
at a nonprofit organization."