Skip to main content

Inspirational Stories


acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)

Although I was a cancer patient many years ago, survivorship is a journey I take every day. Ever since my diagnosis, I’ve spent my free time engaging with the childhood cancer community and learning more about myself.

In high school, I spent my summers at Camp Okizu, a summer camp with a lake and cabins surrounded by a forest, dedicated to cancer patients and survivors as a place to celebrate and reconnect. At Camp Okizu, there was an unspoken understanding and love for each other between cabin mates because whether you were vocal about your cancer story or not, it was an experience we all shared. Okizu: to come together, to heal from hurt, to make whole.

Tragically, not too long ago, Camp Okizu burned to the ground during the devastating California wildfires. I lost connection with many of my friends from summer camp. Since I was treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in Georgia but live in California, my friends at Camp Okizu were the only other childhood cancer survivors I know.

The loss of Camp Okizu caused me to lose that tether with my history of cancer, but over time, I’ve been gaining it back. The wildfires have sparked an interest in climate change and how it impacts communities, which I am now studying at UC San Diego.

Even though I’m far away from where I was treated, I still attended the Light The Night (LTN) walk in San Diego this year to support kids being treated today and celebrate survivorship.

When I was selected for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) scholarship and attended the Zoom call, I was delighted to see a familiar face that I haven’t seen in a long time. My friend Mina from Camp Okizu received the scholarship too! What are the odds, out of hundreds of applicants from across the state, that I would see her face?

LLS keeps me connected to the community of patients, survivors, and supporters that I am enormously grateful to be a part of.

acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)