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'chronic medical condition' - Common App: A significant experience


taxman94 1 / -  
Sep 30, 2012   #1
Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

You have cancer. Those are the words my best friend Ian heard on January 25th, 2006. Ian was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. According to the doctors, Ian's prognosis was very positive, but I was only eleven years old and could not fully fathom the complications he would face. I had no idea how much this experience would change my life.

What started off as a typical ride home from school, quickly took a somber turn when I heard the news that my best friend had cancer. I felt so many emotionsïsadness, fear, confusion. I could not understand why this was happening to my best friend. I quickly had to overcome these emotional obstacles because I knew my friend was more afraid than I was. I had to put his needs before my own. Cancer changed our relationship, and I was forced to change as well. We could no longer play outside or do the typical things eleven-year old boys do. Instead, I spent most of my time by his bedside in the hospital, trying my best to be both comforting and supportive. These changes resulted in a deepening of our friendship.

After months of grueling chemotherapy, Ian began to feel better. His cancer was in remission; and I began to feel optimistic that Ian would make a full recovery. However, this was not the case. Things took a turn for the worse when Ian caught meningitis. Like many people facing cancer, Ian's immune system had been compromised from the chemotherapy. This infection ravaged his body, and eventually, on May 31st, 2006, Ian passed away. Devastated, I found myself in a place where I was unsure of how to cope with the loss of my best friend.

Because I did not want to see others suffer as Ian did, I started running 5K's to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer. Running a 5K was something Ian and I planned on doing before he got sick. I reached out to family and friends and raised several thousand dollars. This inspired Ian's parents to start the ICare ICure Foundation in his memory, which to date has raised several hundred thousand dollars.

While Ian's death was a terrible point in my life, I believe it made me a better person. Since Ian's death, I have learned to respond effectively to adversity and demonstrated resilience no matter how difficult the situation. Ian's battle with cancer taught me the importance of determination as well as the importance of helping others.

When diagnosed with my own chronic medical condition just a few years later, the lessons I learned from my experience with Ian helped to give me perspective which allowed me to cope more effectively with my own medical issues.

Had cancer not cut Ian's life short, I believe there is a good chance we would be going off to college together. While his name may never appear on a diploma, I have no doubt that Ian's spirit will accompany me on my journey through life. I believe the values and lessons gained will carry me not only through my college years but my entire life.
essayhelper - / 6  
Sep 30, 2012   #2
Tough topic to pull off. You did it well! The line: Cancer changed our relationship, and I was forced to change as well. Brilliant.

Here are my thoughts:

1) The essay is about you. So nix the beginning about him being told he has cancer. It's distracting. Write how he told you he had cancer.

2) More details. For example, instead of we couldn't play outside, say no more pickup basketball or park soccer.

3) The penultimate paragraph needs work. a) show don't tell, e.g., learned to respond effectively to adversity and demonstrated resilience no matter how difficult the situation... sounds bad. what does that mean? b) details : e.g., my own chronic medical condition [what is it?]

4) Punchier ending. I like shorter sentences to make a point. For example:
Cancer cut Ian's life short. Had it not, I believe there is a good chance we would be going off to college together. His name may never appear on a diploma, but the values and lessons Ian taught me and his indomitable spirit will accompany me throughout my entire life.

I really like this, and it's just such a strong story; it's bound to get remembered by the admissions officer. Just ad a few tweaks to make it even stronger.


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