Story and photograph provided by Leia H.
“My name is Leia and my battle started when I was just three years old. I may not have full remembrance of my journey but I am still fighting and forever will fight for the kids that can’t. I hope to give you, your siblings, parents and family the courage to fight and to know something good comes out of this battle. I am sixteen years old and I am cancer free. I have been visiting Dr. Shields since I can remember. I went through many rounds of chemo and radiation, the cancer came back and I lost full sight in my left eye. Growing up as a cancer survivor was hard to grasp until I completely understood. To this day I still visit Wills every summer and I get yearly MRI’s. Doctor Shields has watched me grow up and she has kept all the coloring pages and drawings I have made for her over the years. I love talking to Dr. Shields, she always takes the time to ask me about my life and we always bond over running and she tells me stories about her kids. At Wills they all get so excited when I bring in the money I raised at school but I look at it as a small deed I could do to help give back since they saved me. My family has done everything they can for me. If I didn’t grow up with the siblings and parents I have today my life would not be complete. While I went through treatments my older brother and sister watched and lived through their little sister being sick. Cancer has shaped their lives just how it has shaped mine. I now have two more little sisters and they are proud to say that their big sister is cancer free and is surviving. I get asked about my left eye a lot because I do have a drift, since it is the original. I tell them that yes, I did have cancer and yes, I have no sight but I would never go back to change what happened to my family and I. Cancer does make it hard for me to do everyday experiences for example, driving or playing basketball and being the only kid wearing sport goggles. School is hard when you only have one eye that does all the work but I’m alive for a reason and I won’t waste it on being negative. I made a friend in the hospital who was my age and we were battling the same fight. Abby won but she did lose all her sight but I know that no matter what to never ever give up. I will forever thank Wills and I will keep on living and being active and raising money at my school (Donuts For A Cure) so the next child diagnosed can have the same chance at survival that I have. Never lose faith in God and what he is doing because we may not understand but he knows.”