Friday, February 15, 2013

James "Rhio" O'Connor Memorial Scholarship Essay Contest


Kimberly Federoff

 

Faith and Fight

 

Cancer is a disease that affects many families all across the world. When given a diagnosis of cancer many people associate that with the end of life. There are many effective ways to treat various types of cancer however, mesothelioma is one of those types of cancer that when diagnosed almost always means a swift end to a cherished life. Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that forms over the protective lining of vital internal organs, namely the heart, lungs, and abdomen. Like many people that have suffered from mesothelioma, James Rhio O’Connor developed the disease after being exposed to asbestos when he was young. This brave man was given a year to live, but he defied all odds and surpassed his “expiration date” by over seven years. He combined modern medicine with other treatments such as a positive “mind over body” outlook on life, a change of diet, and also focusing on having fun and enjoying life knowing that there was something bigger than himself to focus on. All of these treatments lead to his prolonged life, and greatly enhanced his quality of life. Rhio’s story not only lends inspiration to those diagnosed with mesothelioma, but those diagnosed with any sort of terminal cancer. With a positive attitude and persistence anything is possible.

 

If I were in the same situation as Rhio, I would like to think that I would be just as brave as he. My love of life and my passions would keep me going. I have a passion for performing, especially singing. There have been many trials in my life, and singing has gotten me through all those hard times. My grandmother, whom I was particularly close with, fought through cancer. It started as lung cancer then spread to her brain. By the time the doctors found the cancer, they gave her two weeks to live; she pushed through and lived an additional 9 months. She decided that she would not only partake of what modern medicine had to offer, but she would fight it herself. With laughter, the love of our family, and fighting to see one of my performances that she was very excited about she, like Rhio, surpassed all odds and lived a considerable amount longer than the doctors thought was possible.

 

I am a strong believer in “mind over matter” or “mind over body”, as some say. If I ever got a prognosis of cancer, I would focus most of my energy on fighting. I would not completely rely on modern medicine, although I am thankful for all the men and women that devote their time and energy and knowledge on finding treatments for cancer. I have faith that there is something greater out there that can help me fight disease, and if I put my trust in that, and focus on the positive aspects of life I can fight through anything. Singing has always been there for me to clear my mind, and it helps me stay positive. I really think that alternative treatments, such as singing, in my case, could help me if I ever was diagnosed with cancer. Positivity is very important, and focusing on the future. Many people halt any future plans, because they are afraid of a lack of future. I think that having something in the future to look forward to would help me, I know it helped my grandma. As long as you keep fighting, never get tired, and never give up, the human body, and brain in particular, can achieve miracles.

 

I think that there is a time and place for modern medicine. Radiation, Chemotherapy, and surgery have helped and saved many people’s lives throughout the world. So I would definitely utilize what the brilliant oncologists throughout the world have discovered in regards to cancer treatments. However, through pondering and personal experience, with my grandmother, I have come to realize that other treatments are important. Rhio did not just expand his life because of modern medicine; he took his diagnosis into his own hands and said “I will not give up”. That fighting attitude is very important and if I ever was in the same situation as him, I would take-upon that same attitude. Rhio is such an inspiration. He, along with my grandma, really helps me to understand that life should not be taken for granted. And doing something you love will make you enjoy life more, and in turn give you more strength to fight in a battle against a terrible disease.

 

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