This I Believe

Maria - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

There is always that moment in life where something happens that will never be forgotten. That moment happened to me in October of 2006. I remember that day, as if it was yesterday, when my parents told my brother, my sister, and me that they had some news to tell us. I could tell that it was something important by the look on my parents’ faces and by watching my mom start to break down. Finally, my parents said that my cousin Casey, who was seventeen at the time, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. At that moment my whole world stopped and I could not digest what was just revealed to me. My cousin who I believed to be invincible with her amazing looks, wonderful personality, and who I’ve looked up to ever since I was little, had a brain tumor.

From then on, the days passed and I watched my cousin go through brain surgery to have the tumor biopsied. The surgery was unsuccessful due to the tumor being located between her optic nerves. With the realization that the surgery was a failure, I watched the disappointment rise on her face as she realized the only alternative was a cycle of intense chemotherapy treatments. As the time went by, my cousin endured chemo once a week for four weeks, followed by a one week break, and then started the dreadful pattern over again which caused her to miss large blocks of school. I took a step back from the situation and saw Casey becoming tired of being tired, annoyed for feeling sick all the time, unhappy from staying home constantly, and missing out on things that she loved.

Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and the bond of my family only grew stronger. I believe in the power and sanctity of the family unit and the strength that it provides. Casey’s whole experience dealing with the brain tumor brought my family closer. Everyone stepped up and did whatever it took to help my cousin remain comfortable and happy. My sister and I spent countless weekends with Casey to just relax and cheer her up. I remember one weekend; we watched an entire season of Will & Grace, which we are all hooked on now! The three of us couldn’t stop laughing and quoting the show. Seeing Casey laugh and smile was the greatest moment of my life. Every member in my family took responsibility to help my cousin, whether it was sitting with her on weekends, going to her chemo treatments, or assisting her with missed school work. The past year included chemo and numerous medicines to combat the side effects. She is slowly regaining her strength, attempting to makeup school work, and applying to colleges. We have been humbled by her inner strength. Her physical stamina is slowly returning. My family continues to rally around her to help fight the battle, which we are still fighting today, hoping for a victory.