I now know exactly what I want to be and I don't think that I could've figured it out without the relief that Little Pink Houses of Hope gave me.
2022 Scholarship Winner
My mom is a pediatrician, and instead of Magic Tree House and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I grew up reading about fetal surgery in her magazines from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She gets these magazines in the mail every month, and my favorite thing to do since I was old enough to read has always been to sit on her lap and read about these procedures while she explains to me what every part of the surgery means. These procedures enthralled me and inspired me to want to become a fetal surgeon myself. My mom’s love and support gave me the confidence to believe that I have the ability to become exactly what I want to be. My mom’s love for me manifested in more ways than this one; she has been my rock throughout the ups and downs of my childhood. As a kid, I moved from state-to-state several times, dealt with an alcoholic father and the issues that he caused, and then finally my parents eventual separation. Through all of that, I had my mom, and I had no reason to believe that it would ever be any different. However, one day, my mom brought my siblings and I out to the living room “to talk,” and I knew it was going to be something serious. When she told us that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, a cold, heavy dread filled my body. I remember hugging her and inhaling her scent, convinced that I needed to try and fully take it in so that I would still be able to recall it when she was gone. Over the next nine months, my mom underwent chemo, surgery, and radiation, and our roles essentially swapped. I went from feeling like she was supporting me to feeling like I needed to support her. I developed extreme anxiety stemming from the belief that she was going to die and I could do nothing about it; it got to the point where I laid in her bed next to her every night and didn’t sleep because I wanted to be able to call 911 in case I heard her stop breathing. Luckily, by the Lord’s good grace, my mom’s chemo was working. She went into remission around March 2017, about 9 months after she was diagnosed. Despite this incredible news, I couldn’t shake the anxiety that she was going to disappear and I couldn’t prevent it. When we heard that we had been selected to attend the Little Pink retreat in Orange Beach, Alabama, all of us were thrilled. That sounded really enticing to me, and I began to find it easier to relax, enjoying the sand and the pool. Having everything down to each nights dessert planned let me release some of the anxieties that I had been harboring and just be a kid again. I paddle boarded, watched the eclipse, and even did pretty well in a frozen t-shirt opening contest! The best night by far was when we went out to the pool deck late at night with a few other families and sat in a circle playing mafia for hours. I slept in my own (amazingly soft and giant) bed every night, and I felt like I could breathe again. When we sadly departed, I left feeling much more like myself and with a mission. I wanted to be able to help families like mine by taking care of their family members when they were sick so that they would not have to feel the same helpless panic that I experienced during my mom’s fight with breast cancer. I was more motivated than ever to become a fetal surgeon and heal sick babies, and that is still exactly what I want to do with my life. This goal is giving me the motivation to attend college and medical school, despite how long and hard it is going to be. While my mom’s breast cancer experience was awful and I would never wish it on anyone, I did learn about myself as a result of it. I now know exactly what I want to be and I don’t think that I could’ve figured it out without the relief that Little Pink Houses of Hope gave me. I hope to provide families with that same relief, just in a different way, as a fetal surgeon.