This speech was originally presented by Mariah at Time to Fly on September 9, 2017.
Thank you all for coming out today. It is really special to be with you to be part of Children’s Cancer Research Fund’s 15th Time to Fly. I can still remember the first one. My name is Mariah, and I am honored to share my story with you, as each one of us, I know, have our own.
I was born in Shoaguan City that is part of Guangdong Providence in China. At 15 months, my mom adopted me. Recently, my mom and I celebrated 20 years of becoming a family. This is a special mile marker, as not only did we become a family, but then 11 months after being adopted, I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. It started when my aunt noticed a small bump on my left shin, which could have easily been from being an active 2-year-old, but my aunt, being a nurse, suggested we get it checked out.
When my mom took me into the doctor, I was treated with Benadryl for two weeks because they thought it was a bug bite. But after nothing had changed, my mom brought me back in and had an x-ray taken. That was the day we found out I had a tumor. At the time, in Duluth where we live, there were not Pediatric Oncologists, so we were referred to the University of Minnesota. After a biopsy, it was confirmed I had osteosarcoma.
My first chemo was 19 years ago to this day, on the 9th, at the old hospital on 5B. I went through 3 months of chemo, an amputation and then six more months of chemo. Today, I am starting my senior year at the University of Minnesota. I am pursuing to be a medical researcher, just as my doctors were.
I want to thank you again so much for coming out today, as my treatment included a clinical trial, and now, as a student participating in research, I am seeing how limited funding for research can be. So, events like these and the work CCRF does really does make a difference. Thank you!