Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – When Love Has No Hair

Name: Sarah Yeager
From: Tucson, Arizona
Grade: College Freshman
School: University of Arizona
Votes: 0

When
Love Has No Hair


“Why
did this have to happen to me?” My mom looked me straight in the
eyes and replied, “Why not you, Sarah?” I paused for a moment.
She was right; Why not me?  I knew that young people could get
cancer, but it was always someone else’s burden. Now it was in my
own hands as my boyfriend of just ten months was given a 56% chance
of survival.

I
have always loved helping other people, especially when it comes to
kids, but nothing had prepared me for this at only 15 years old. It
changed me in ways I never thought possible. Teenagers always feel
invincible, but suddenly the world felt cold and unforgiving. Every
second was precious and vulnerable. I knew I had to make them count.
So, instead of focusing on the negative, I decided to take what I was
going through to help others in similar circumstances. This was when
I started volunteering at Saddleback Memorial Hospital in Laguna
Hills.

Over
the span of the one hundred and fifteen hours that I volunteered at
Saddleback Memorial, I was responsible for multiple difficult tasks.
This included discharging patients in wheelchairs, delivering meals
(and often feeding patients them) based on dietary needs, keeping
medical supply boxes thoroughly and appropriately stocked, cleaning
the nurses’ stations, and checking each patient and their families
regularly to make sure they were comfortable.

My
biggest challenge was separating the heavy emotions I felt at the
time while making sure I was doing my best job for others. When I
would bring “Care Carts” to families who just had a loved one
pass away, it broke my heart. I felt their pain because I, too, was
watching someone I love look death in the eye while fighting to live.
I witnessed death, tears, and last goodbyes; but I also witnessed new
life, laughter, and love. The most satisfaction I had as a volunteer
was being the last person a patient would thank on their journey back
home. Maybe they had just finished chemotherapy, or maybe they were
finally recovering from open heart surgery. I was just happy to see
them happy.

It
has been over three years since Michael’s first diagnosis. Through
these years, I have learned how to clean chemotherapy shunts, clean
vomit of my clothes, give multiple shots, and how to handle a medical
environment full of sick children and anxious parents full of pain.
He is just now ending his second diagnosis, as we currently have a
college long-distance relationship.
By
choosing to keep moving forward, I could be there for someone I
loved. I was also able to be there for others in need.
My
experiences with my boyfriend and with volunteering have called me to
become a future pediatric oncology nurse. “Forward looking” to me
is creating a better future for children who are diagnosed with
cancer, while we pursue the goal of eradicating the disease forever.

To
read more about my story with Michael’s cancer, please visit my
blog:
https://mikeygandme.wordpress.com/


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