Inspirationalstories

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Tommy Coykendall - December, 2018My name is Tommy, and I am a cancer survivor.
I was told I had cancer in August 2010, I was 9 years old and about to start 4th grade. I was diagnosed with stage 3 malignant melanoma.  My primary cancer was on my back and it also spread to my lymph nodes in my right arm and cancer cells were in my groin also. I have had 2 surgeries; high dose and low dose interferon treatments; saw tons of doctors; had many, many tests and scans; lots of blood has been taken and numerous biopsies have been done.
 
When I was diagnosed when I was 9, we were told it had nothing to do with the sun. I would love to have a tan and be carefree in the sun and not worry like everyone else but unfortunately I have to be cautious because my chances of getting melanoma again are extremely high.
 
Soccer helped me through my tough days and I still love playing soccer. I look forward to playing at practices and games and being with my friends. I play on my varsity high school team and play with 2 travel soccer clubs along with being a soccer referee. It's a definite passion of mine.
 
2018 marks 8 years ago that I was told I had cancer. I still see numerous doctors, have 6-month checkups, tests, scans, bloodwork, sometimes biopsies and unfortunately have had a few scares that my cancer returned. At the present time, I remain stable and remain No Evidence of Disease (NED).
 
Fast forward 8 years later from my cancer diagnosis and Cancer might have changed me in some ways, but it doesn't define who I am now or who I will become in the future. 
 I am a senior at Stroudsburg High School still loving and playing soccer and preparing for college and looking forward to what the future holds for me. I am more determined to accomplish my goals in the future and live life to the fullest.
 
THANK YOU FOR HELPING SPREAD AWARENESS FOR ALL CHILDREN BATTLING CANCER. ONE SMALL STEP WILL LEAD TO GREAT THINGS AHEAD.

Owen Wilt - November, 2018Owen was diagnosed with Bilateral Wilms Tumors stage 5 on January 20th 2017 at the age of 11 months. 
Owen enjoys playing outside, helping his daddy, watching Mickey Mouse, playing with his kitty, playing with his trucks, and spending time with his family.

Since Owen was diagnosed, Owen has not let cancer bring him down. He always has a big smile on, a loving heart, and always in good spirits.

Owen wanted his picture taken with his tractor.   This tractor always makes Owen happy and helps him forget about his troubles.

Rachel Price - October, 2018I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in late March, 2 months before my 17th birthday. I went through 5 cycles of chemotherapy, as of early August I received clean scans and am now in remission. I am currently a senior at Northampton High School and I plan on attending college. I hope to continue things I enjoyed that I wasn't able to do during treatment such as going to the gym, working, driving, art, seeing my family that lives far away, visiting colleges, and just being a kid. I chose to take my picture for the calendar with my dog Gracie because she has helped me a lot through this tough time by comforting me, never leaving my side, taking my mind off of cancer, and just making me smile and laugh.

Olivia Radcliffe - September, 2018On Labor Day 2010, I was diagnosed with a rare type of liver cancer- undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver.   I didn’t really understand how different life would be from that day on.  When you are diagnosed with cancer at age 9 you just do what the doctors and nurses tell you to do and keep on fighting.   So that’s what I did.   After 9 months of chemo and a surgery to remove my tumor, I was challenged with getting back to the business of being a kid instead of a cancer patient.   So, again, that’s what I did.   I have been cancer-free since April 2011, and was officially CURED in April 2016.   I am now a junior on high school, looking at colleges, play tennis, am involved in school activities, teach snowboarding,  and volunteer my time for many different types of organizations….although the pediatric cancer foundations like Angel 34 are closest to my heart.     I think I look and act like any other teenager does, but I am always a little different and a little bit stronger on the inside because I am a cancer survivor.    I think this quote sums it up, “Cancer changes us, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s up to us to decide what that change will mean in our lives, and who we will become as a result.”

Sabrina Olivo - August, 2018Sabrina Olivo was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, a rare blood disorder, at the age of 19 in March 2016. She had to stop attending school at Saint Peter’s University in order to undergo treatment. After a long summer and fall off from school, weekly visits to the clinic, and binging Friends on Netflix, she was given the all clear to continue her schooling. Now 21 years old, Sabrina is back at school pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications with a concentration on Public Relations at The University of Scranton. In the future Sabrina would love to work for a non-profit organization, a media network, or help small businesses get their message out to the public. Along with her love for school and learning, Sabrina has a passion for social media, makeup, art, and her dog. Sabrina is probably the oldest patient at the LVHN Pediatric Hem/Oncclinic, but she wouldn’t want any other team helping her through the madness.

Bryce Bennett - July, 2018Bryce was just two and a half when he was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma in March 2015, and our little guy struggled through five surgeries, eight months of chemotherapy, numerous blood transfusions and three stem cell transplants before being declared cancer free.
 
He was a trooper though, going through therapies learning to walk and talk again, while his brother did normal activities like school and sports.  But Bryce was special that way, and with his infectious laugh, he happily spent the next 19 months playing, swimming and rough housing with his older brother Cooper.  Cooper, was young himself...just four, but somehow always knew when his brother was sick and was caring and gentle too.
 
Just when life was returning to normal, Bryce relapsed July 2017. His cancer not only returned but also spread to his spine.  In September he completed 30 rounds of proton radiation then our family took a much needed vacation to Disney World where we all could just forget cancer for just one week and have fun.
 
Mommy and Daddy know it will be a long year of chemotherapy but have a tremendous amount of hope, faith and love along with a huge amount of friends and family support...because TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER! Thank you for supporting Bryce. 

Derek's Camp Flip Flop - June, 2018What is Derek’s Camp Flip Flop?
Started in June of 2010, the Angel 34 Foundation supports the love the late Derek Graffis had for children battling cancer and the shore and combining them together to provide “Derek’s Camp Flip Flop”, a two-session, two-week camp providing much needed downtime for the entire family.

Each camp session takes place for four days / three nights in Wildwood Crest, NJ.   The children battling cancer and their families attend the camp at no cost and are given opportunities to experience the Wildwoods many attractions (Water Park, Morey’s Pier Ride Day, Beach Treasure Hunt, PoolSide BBQ, Breakfast and Dinners at the Best Restaurants, Pool games, Beach Activities, Miniature Golf, Movie Night by the Pool, and more).

Why Derek’s Camp Flip Flop: 
Derek’s Camp Flip Flop allows kids facing a variety of limitations, because of their disease, to be kids.  During their battle we forget that they just want to be kids and want to be treated like kids that don’t have cancer with opportunities to RUN, PLAY, SWIM and ENJOY BEING WITH OTHER KIDS.

Derek’s Camp Flip Flop provides both support and opportunities so the child/family are in control of their experience.  By choosing activities in which they wish to participate, they are able to gain a sense of normalcy in their lives.

Derek’s Camp Flip Flop is a respite assurance for all the campers involved.  While at the camp the children can gain independence from the parents, meet friends, develop new skills and discover new and old interests in a safe environment.  It also allows the parents to relax, gain support from other parents and spend quality time with their children in a fun environment.

Derek’s Camp Flip Flop creates a bond between siblings, friends and families that carries over, long after the last day of camp.  Through the camp experience, everyone is able to discover they are not alone, are able to have their feelings validated and discover there is HOPE.  

Thank you to the Bel Air Motel, The Sand Jamm, Morey’s Piers and the Morey Family, Green’s Bike Rental, Cone Crazy and Surfside West Diner for their support for Derek’s Camp Flip Flop.

Nikolette Nolte - May, 2018Hi, my name is Nikolette Nolte and I am a senior at Kutztown High School and a competitive national swimmer.  My world changed when I heard those three strong words…"you have cancer.”  The doctors were very surprised I walked into the Lehigh Valley Emergency Room.  They determined swimming saved my life.

On April 2, 2017, my life was turned upside down.  I was admitted to the Lehigh Valley Pediatric Intensive Care Unit to have emergency surgery to remove over 400 cc’s of fluid around my heart.  I was told I had a large mass in my chest cavity.  I returned to my parents after surgery sedated on a ventilator which was extremely frightening.  On April 5, I was diagnosed with Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (PMLBL) at the age of 17. On April 7, the doctors were able to remove the ventilator tube and I woke up from what I thought was a dream.

This past year has been hard but I was determined to stay positive through all my treatments.  All the doctors and nurses were awesome during my “hotel” stays at Lehigh Valley, 4th floor.  I finished my chemotherapy treatments on July 28, 2017.  On August 24, I was told the awesome news that I am cancer free and in remission. The Kutztown community, Kutztown School District, swim team families, and my family and friends have showed tremendous support which I will forever cherish.

No matter what you are going through always know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Each day might seem hard and some days it may seem like you are walking farther away from the light, but in the end the light will shine through.  Continue to stay positive and fight because POSITIVITY is the best medicine! #TeamNiki

Addison Torcivia - April, 2018After a second random fall, lack of energy and seeming a little pale, Addison was taken to the doctor, only to receive the devastating news that Addie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Our lives changed that day, on August 16, 2017 when we stepped into a different world; our "new normal" as we like to call it. We tried to make sense of how our beautiful little girl could go from dance camp to a hospital bed in less than one week. So far our journey has looked a little different than most families of a 4 year old. however, despite the ups and downs, there have been many triumphs among the challenges and Addison has continued to dance her way through it all, literally. She is one tough cookie - a true Princess Warrior and has inspired many by how, given this new hand she has beeen dealt, she doesn't let it get her down. She still has a long road ahead of her, and we are looking forward to seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. We have been so comforted by those who have shared their similar experiences with ALL, and though it is a scary place to be in, it is reassuring to know that we are not alone. We will remain hopeful, positive and strong as hell for our girl as we continue to help her fight the toughest battle of her life. As they say, this is a marathon and we will be dancing right alongside of her as Addison continues to dance her way to the finish line.

Lily Kozo - March, 2018Lily was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoid Leukemia during January of 2017, at the age of 4. Being in the hospital was very sad for Lily, and she still gets frustrated about getting tired sooner than she'd like. But she's feeling much better now, thanks to her treatments, and enjoys telling jokes to her friends at the clinic.

Lily loves visiting the Da Vinci Science Center and playgrounds, watching movies, playing iPad games, and listening to her Daddy tell stories. Her very favorite movies are Godzilla and Star Wars. She loves her grandparents, enjoys singing songs of her own invention, and generally spreads sunshine wherever she goes.

Lily also loves costumes, and wanted to dress as one of her favorite characters for her picture.

Ryan Glose - February, 2018Ryan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when he was 4 years old and endured 3 ½ years of intense chemotherapy including oral medication, IV infusions, shots in his thighs, spinal taps, blood transfusions, a blood clot, overnight hospital stays and physical therapy to stretch and strengthen his leg muscles after the damage chemo took on his body.In recovery, Ryan continued to work hard to fight the after-effects of chemo which can last for years after treatment.

Ryan took his last chemotherapy pill 7 years ago and we are so grateful that he is a happy and healthy teenager thriving as a freshman at Parkland High School with straight A’s and enjoying his love of ice hockey.  He plays on the Parkland JV Ice Hockey team and for the Lehigh Valley Rebels travel team.  He is an avid Philadelphia Flyer’s fan and has fun playing NHL Hockey on his Xbox with his friends.

Adriana Rodriguez - January, 2018Adriana is the most thoughtful, caring, sweet-hearted little girl you will ever meet! She loves dancing and singing. She was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor, a rare yet highly treatable kidney cancer in April 2017.

One particular Friday in May after receiving chemotherapy, Adriana insisted upon attending Pre-K graduation despite feeling sick. She is such a strong fighter! She will be finishing chemotherapy in November.

In June she had her kidney and the cancerous tumor removed.   Since her surgery she has spent her summer playing with friends at the park and spending time with family at the beach. This past September Adriana started kindergarten at the Easton Arts Academy Public Charter School where she continues to enjoy dancing and singing everyday!

At home Adriana lives with her mommy and daddy and two younger siblings. Annelise is almost two years old and Aiden is a newborn baby. She loves them both so much and is an excellent big sister, always making them smile and laugh.

Although Adriana can be shy because of her bald head from chemotherapy, she usually gains her self confidence back quickly because she is aware she's beautiful with or without hair. She is looking forward for 2018 to regrow her hair and be in remission!