Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 8

Advocacy COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Helping Others
Actually Helps Yourself
BY COLE EICHER
M
ost people don't think about
the full power of volunteering.
It is easy to see how
giving of your time helps
the receiver, but you can't
fully understand the gift to yourself. It can take
lots of time to fully reveal itself.
Helping others has made a significant difference
in my life, and I am honored to share
a few examples.
At the age of 12, I was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma,
brain cancer and this is when
I had to make some decisions on how I was
going to react to things that were out of my
control. Not to say that in sixth grade you are
in control of very much but having control of
your attitude was a daily challenge when so
much was changing in my life.
I chose the mindset of taking things " one
day at a time. " I didn't need or want to know
what was coming next week, I just wanted to
get through that one day. The pediatric oncology
floor really opens your eyes to a world most
people don't know. For me, seeing children so
young fighting cancer made me question how
they could advocate for themselves. And for
the first time my problems didn't compare to
what they were going through. I felt as though
everything that I had learned or experienced
in my life had led me to a point of being able
to be a voice for them.
At 12, I wasn't sure who would listen, but
I knew that more research was needed to
provide less long-term side effects and more
options available for those doctors that have
to share the news with parents that there are
no known treatments for their child's cancer.
I had attended a Relay For Life event a year
before my cancer and enjoyed honoring my
grandmother who had pancreatic cancer. It
was different now because I was looking forward
to attending as a survivor. The majority
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SEPTEMBER 2021
of survivors at Relay For Life events are adults
and while I felt out of place because of my age,
my friends and family made the experience a
positive one. During the event I thought about
all the other kids nationwide who were fighting
cancer and wanted them to feel celebrated
and supported in their own community. This
was a turning point for me in that I decided
that there needed to be a dedicated childhood
cancer team at every Relay For Life event.
I spoke to my local staff at the American
Cancer Society and shared my vision and came
up with a plan. I worked with my family and
friends the following year and created a team
at two Relay events and invited childhood
cancer families to attend. It was important
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Elephants And Tea - September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - September 2021

Contents
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 1
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