The Reason I Never Give Up

Ashley - Newington
Entered on December 14, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in living your life to the fullest every day and not taking things for granted. I believe this for one main reason, my cousin Amanda, she was is the strongest person I have ever met. She was 9 and I was almost 11 when she got sick. It all started with a small stomach ache and she went to the doctor’s office with my Uncle and my other cousin Emily; the diagnosis, leukemia stage four (the worst possible case). At the time, I wasn’t too sure how serious it was but I knew it was life-threatening. As she got more into her sickness, I began to get closer with this sickness called “leukemia.” Amanda got admitted in to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, where she was placed on the eighth floor, which was considered the floor for the sickest children.

Amanda inspired me to a level I did not realize until a couple years ago. She lived with this sickness for six years, her original life expectancy was not even a year. She proved the doctor’s wrong, and went in remission almost four times! The one thing about her that I loved was that she never complained. My whole life that I had known her, she did not complain once, and I rarely saw her cry. Amanda had numerous doses of chemotherapy, and two bone transplants. She had this tube put in her heart so that she could test her blood cell count and give her own treatment, and instead of crying over it, she made a song. “I’ve got a tubie in my boobie.. Ouch ouch ouch!” This girl had the biggest heart in the world and always looked on the bright side of things. There were many sad times when this was going on but great times too. I grew so close to Amanda, she became my little sister. We went on family vacations to RI, which was her favorite place to go.

The last time I saw her before she passed when a few days before she died, I remember her skin was ghostly and she has bruises around her eyes. My mom and I brought her a large strawberry milkshake from McDonald’s because those were her favorite. Surprisingly she drank the whole thing and I remember the question she asked was “Are those little red things in there coming from me?” she was so scared to think she was bleeding from her mouth but it was just the strawberries. At that point in time, she knew she was dying and I did too but still did not want to believe it. She still never complained.

Thinking back on Amanda and her experience with leukemia, I look at my life in a different light. I know that while I am here and lucky to be healthy enough to make it to college, and be successful I need to live and do the best work I can everyday that I have the privilege to.