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Rita's Story, In Her Words

As a teenager, I had cancer, and it meant a lot of things to me. It meant lots of chemotherapy drugs, other medications and injections. It meant sleepless nights at the hospital. It meant tons of scans and exams. It meant surgeries, and tubes, machines and transfusions. It meant appearance changes, pain, fatigue and isolation. And it meant many inexplicable feelings.

Today, I’m a volunteer at CCCL. I come back to the center to be a living proof that we all have the power to overcome everything. I will smile endlessly and encourage CCCL’s kids that there is a bright future after cancer.

But, as a teenager, It all seemed so bad until I realized I am strong enough! God has chosen me for a purpose, and I can overcome cancer. It began to mean that I have to fight with everything I’ve got to win this battle. It was proof to myself that I’m capable of beating cancer no matter what.

I had Ewing’s sarcoma, which is a very rare type of cancerous tumor that grows in the bones or the soft tissue around the bones, such as the cartilage or the nerves. A tumor started growing on my nose, so my worried parents took me to surgery and I got it removed, then it was sent to pathology were we discovered it was cancer. No one told me at first although I was almost sure it was cancer. I’ve heard my parents crying at night!

There were tough times, and the battle was hard. But, I have always thought that things will get better, and my faith never wavered. I was surrounded by the most caring and lovely people, at the Children’s Cancer Center, people who have magical cures, not only medicinal. Endless smiles and encouraging words are what got me through the unforgettable times there. I can’t forget how moments of pain and tears were turned into those of joy and laughter despite the pain I was enduring. The path that seemed endlessly hard at the beginning, turned to be one of the most fruitful experiences. My journey to become a survivor took 8 months where I met amazing people, and built strong friendships.

The greatest challenge was to never give up!

With courage I turned my wounds into scars, and my cancer into good memorable moments. I will never forget the day I got my port removed. That day I was cancer free.

Today, I’m a second year university student in biology as I’m curious to know about all aspects of life and better understand how everything happens. It’s my passion.

I’m grateful for everything, and I’m stronger than ever before!