I was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer, Osteosarcoma, when I was 12 years-old during a very formative part of my life. I needed limb-salvage surgery in order for my tumor to be removed, but this left me with pain, limited rotation, and weakness in my left shoulder. My cancer robbed my of competitive swimming and my physical strength, which transferred to my confidence. I thought that I would never be able to swim again; I never thought that I would be able to do all the things I want in life because I am have a disability.
It’s been seven long years, and I still have my scars and challenges in various aspects of my life. I’ve had to relearn how to live with one and a half arms, but having people around me that want me to succeed has allowed me to get back into swimming and figure skating — sports that I never thought I be able to do in my condition. I’ve just had to learn how to do it differently — in my own way.
I have learned over the years that cancer is apart of my life’s story, but it has never defined me; I am not my disability, and I am not my cancer.