Our August Hero, David, faces his cancer diagnosis with an immense amount of composure and positivity. He continually inspires his family, keeping them laughing through the tough times.
One year ago, David noticed a lump on his left forearm. He was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissue. Later, he would also face brain surgery on his pituitary gland to remove a second tumor.
“When I learned about the cancer, I was more interested in knowing what my care options were, what the side effects would be, and how I could move forward,” said David. “During my treatment for cancer, I was also going through pain from fallen arches and had to have surgery on both feet. The recovery has been long.”
Surrounded by Support
Although pragmatic, David’s time at the hospital has not been easy. He has leaned on his family, faith, and Chemo Pal, Tyler, to get him through the tough times.
“My parents have always been here for me; they are always there if I reach out for help,” said David. “My faith has kept me focused, and my Chemo Pal, Tyler, has been a blessing to me and my family. He is very sincere. He knows how to be comfortable around my situation.”
Children’s Cancer Association’s Chemo Pals are trained, trusted adult mentors matched with children and young adults undergoing treatment. They play games, listen to music, share hobbies, or simply offer the comfort of companionship, relieving the anxiety, loneliness, and isolation resulting from ongoing treatment.
For Tyler, getting to know David has been a joy in itself.
“David is so optimistic and determined,” said Tyler. “Even on days when he doesn’t feel well, he is always even-keeled and consistent. He is incredibly nice to everyone around him. You can tell that he is thinking about other people more than his own situation. It just comes naturally to him.”
CCA’s Link program also supported David and his family through Joy for the Holidays, a program that matches families with generous sponsors who provide holiday support. And, the family had the opportunity to visit the Portland Trail Blazer’s practice facility, an experience which will stay with David forever.
“The practice facility visit was an opportunity to take a break from the more difficult times. It gave my family and me some relief and refreshed our minds. We are all huge basketball fans!” said David.
Having completed two surgeries and treatment for cancer, David is looking forward to pursuing his dreams. He has a great passion for biology, zoology, nature, and loves working with animals. Ever the optimist, David said, “Maybe I’ll even work as a veterinarian one day.”
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that whatever David decides to pursue, he will do it with a passion and kindness beyond comparison.
“For anyone going through what I’ve been through, just keep going forward and take the hope that people offer to you. Even a very, very small amount of hope can sprout something much larger,” said David.