“Cancer was something brought into my life that I cannot take back. Even though it was a struggle, I love where it brought me and how much of a better person it has made me become.”
My name is Emily Amador, and I am a pediatric cancer survivor. I have just begun my sophomore year at Rutgers, and am a member of the RU Dance Team. The day of March 16th 2010 changed my entire life and the way I see the world. I was always a positive person, pushing myself to be my very best at everything I did, but my diagnosis made me work that much harder to achieve my goals. Nothing would get in my way, even after my cancer diagnosis. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during my senior year of high school. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish the end of my senior year, attend college, and continue my life as a dancer. Despite this setback, I managed to graduate on time and continue my career as a dancer at Rutgers University.
My diagnosis seemed frightening at the time, but it has helped me to cherish life and live it to the fullest. I was able to meet so many amazing people that got me through everything. Besides the support groups, family, and friends who were there for me from the beginning, dance helped me stay strong throughout my treatments and forget about all my fears. I was accepted to the Rutgers Dance Team right after my treatments ended, which was the perfect gift for being cancer free. I was so excited to represent Rutgers University by dancing at all the football and basketball games! The first time I stepped foot on that football field was the best feeling I had ever experienced.
Cancer was something brought into my life that I cannot take back. Even though it was a struggle, I love where it brought me and how much of a better person it has made me become. Ever since I completed my cancer treatments and have been cancer free for over one year, I have volunteered and committed my entire heart and soul to helping charities who work with cancer patients. I have also had a very successful first year at Rutgers University, both academically and on an extra-curricular level. I have gotten to meet so many new people because of how big of a school it is and have made a sisterly bond with the girls on the Rutgers Dance Team who I spend time with each day.
Embrace Kids Foundation was the one charity that was there for me from the start. I jumped right into the fundraising events and activities that Embrace Kids had to offer and loved being a part of every single one of them. Not only does it feel great to be a huge help to the charity that had so much care and compassion for my family, but it also felt spectacular to see the smiling faces of the children who only want a normal life outside of a hospital. I got to experience this charity even before I became sick. My hometown dance studio would always participate in the Rutgers Dance Marathon and perform for the students who were on their feet for 32 hours raising money for children with cancer and blood disorders. I couldn’t help but quickly sign up for the Dance Marathon at Freshmen Student Orientation. I was so excited to be a part of it my first year and help out with advertising the event. I was honored to speak at the Dance Marathon to let the Rutgers students know how important this event was and that you never know what life will bring you. I shared my story and spoke much about Embrace Kids Foundation and left the room in tears. It felt so good that my story touched so many people and inspired those who did not know much about cancer.
The only way to conquer cancer is to have a positive attitude the entire way. I am proud to be able to give back and let children know that if they can get through cancer, they can get through anything in the world. My diagnosis of cancer changed me and allowed me to cherish every moment and never give up.