I want to begin by saying three words that unfortunately not everyone gets to say.
I'M A SURVIVOR!
In 2003, at the age of nine, I was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor,
and the surgery left me unable to walk, talk, or even lift my own head. I basically had to start from scratch. I went through 31 daily radiation treatments, 52 weeks of Chemotherapy and enough needles and test to last a lifetime. It has taken many years and countless hours of hard work and dedication to be able to do the things that I am doing today.
When I found out about my cancer I vowed that I would do everything in my power to make sure that no child has to go though what I went through.
I have been a KidsAbility Ambassador, a spokesperson for Scotia Bank ‘kids can’t wait’ campaign and poster child for Scotia Bank McMaster ‘smiles’ campaign. I am a Coast to Coast Against Cancer Ambassador and in 2010 rode a tandem bike across Ontario. The following year I took it one step further and rode the same tandem bike across Canada from Vancouver to Halifax, and raised close to $85,000 for kids Cancer research. In 2012, I was honoured by Rick Hansen as a difference maker. I was also the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee award for outstanding volunteer/humanitarian work. And to top off this already impressive list, I am an alumni of the 2013 Terry Fox Humanitarian Award.
“I know first-hand how it feels to be a prisoner in the hospital and endure the surgeries and the endless needles and treatments. I know how it feels to lose my hair, throw up regularly and watch other kids around me earn their wings. I lost a part of my childhood that I will never get back. I know how it feels to look different and to be different. That’s something that I wouldn’t wish for any other kid to go through, and that is why I do what I do.”
This is the speech that I gave back in 2010, when I joined the National Kids Cancer Ride and rode across Ontario to prove that there is hope and there is life after cancer.