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Defeating the Silent Killer

lowcal 12 / 27  
Dec 30, 2009   #1
Applicants must submit a personal statement that provides information about their community involvement, career goals and desire to contribute to their community. Information about unique, personal or financial circumstances may be added.

(1000 words max)

Click. The camera flashed about its tenth photo. I examined the long line of people. Standing in front of me was mixture short, tall, robust, thin, blonde, brunette, and many more physical characteristics of a person that the words in the dictionary can describe. On May 17, 2009, as the school year was rolling around to a close, I participated in one last school affiliated volunteer event. Each year, more than 3.5 million people from around the world take part in the occasion to raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from those suffering from one of the world's deadliest diseases. My task was to take pictures of all the survivors who attended the event to celebrate their victory through either a yearlong, or even lifelong, battle against cancer. As I prepared to take another photo, I heard a loud hooting cry of exultation and excitement coming out of one of the photographers.

"Oh my god, I haven't seen you in a year! How've you been?" The photographer's name was Linda. Linda hugged joyfully a short, nearly bald, blond hair woman. The "Hello My Name is" nametag the woman wore read Sarah. She was a cancer survivor.

"I'm doing really great. After battling the sucker for two years, I'm so glad that it's over." Her face lit up after she spoke those words. Her facial impression molded into much like to that of a child's, overjoyed and surprised after laying eyes on Christmas presents. After her brief moment of elation, she soon noticed me patiently waiting to take her picture.

"I'm so sorry sweetheart. I didn't mean to keep you waiting. I'm just so glad that now I can lead a normal lifestyle." Her previous warm smile did not fade. I took a closer notice of her physical appearance. A disfiguring scar trailed from the left side of head and stopped to the opposite end. Small specks of blond hair attempted to cover up the visible marks. The shape of her head was not in exact symmetric with the rest of her face. Despite this conspicuous appearance, her upbeat disposition and bright smile veiled her physical deformity.

"Oh don't worry about it at all. It's news that you should be celebrating about. By all means, be happy!" I began to place my fingers atop the flash button of the digital camera. As I looked at the camera screen which displayed Sarah on the other side, I could not help but smile. She had undergone immense suffering from a disease that millions of people around the world have been and still are fighting. Luckily, she survived the storm, her now smiling and full of spirit. While I was jubilant for Sarah, I could not help think but think about those who did not make it out alive. My thoughts molded across my face. Sarah soon caught my forlorn countenance.

"Did you know anyone who has cancer?" She spoke delicately. Slowly, I nodded my head. "Yes, my grandfather passed away from lung cancer." I soon felt a lump grow in my throat.

About a year ago from this day, my grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was a doctor. He was a miracle worker. He was healthy. He never smoked. He exercised. He ate well. Unfortunately, he fell victim to the number one cancer killer in the United States. Although a year had passed, I could not help myself from choking up whenever the thought of approached my mind. Never again will I spend Friday nights cuddle with him on the couch watching the Bill Cosby show. He would never again ask me if I knew to decipher the meaning of a difficult word that would most likely appear on the SAT. I would never again sit next to him on the couch to talk about stories of his younger years. I would never again be able to do any of these things with him, at least not in this lifetime. For this reason, I was glad that I had been there to volunteer. Although he had not survived, I feel this event reminded me not only of memories that I shared with him but also to address to others the importance of finding the cure to this fast growing disease.

My passion lies in helping others in need. In the future, I soon hope to become a doctor. As I divest my time in participating in community service activities, I fill that not only am I giving back to the community but also am I building on my skills needed in the medical world. A dictionary definition would classify a doctor as "a person licensed to practice medicine, as a physician, surgeon, dentist, or veterinarian." However, to me, I believe a doctor is much more. A doctor is someone who bases his life on helping others in need. A doctor is a nurturer. A doctor is someone who sometimes puts his life on hold merely to better the conditions of other human beings. With this ideal in mind, I aspire to bear these calibers.

My involvement in the Relay for Life event brought back many memories that I shared with my grandfather. Although I choose to specialize in pediatric care, I still plan on in the future to advocate for the necessity in formulating a solution to cancer. My first hand experience in meeting a real life survivor motivates my intentions of succoring others. Volunteering allows me not only to help others but also to help myself. I strive to continue my life story by adding chapter in which I continue to invest my time in humanitarian efforts.

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