Daly, Courtney

My name is Courtney Daly; I am 21 years old and am a first semester Junior at Northern Illinois University. I have done research into scholarships since the beginning of my college career and few have ever caught my interest. I came across this scholarship and it truly inspired me. This is because I have been dealing with an ongoing disability my entire life. I was born with Spina Bifida and have undergone countless surgeries throughout my life. I understand what it is like to deal with heart wrenching news and the possible outcomes that may happen.

I am going to school to become a Child Life Specialist, and specialize in pediatric Oncology. The reason I am choosing this career path is because I have done volunteer work since I was 16 years old; at a camp for special needs children and young adults. One of the camps that we have attending our facility is a camp for young children who have cancer. The week I began working this camp I was nervous, I had no idea what I was going to be faced with. As soon as the children arrived I was at ease, because I knew that they were children just like everyone else and wanted to be thought of as cancer free for the week they were there. It was my job to make that happen.

Having the experience I have had with those dealing with cancer not only in my volunteer life, but in my personal life as well, I have greatly considered what I would want to do if I were ever diagnosed with a terminal disease. If I were in Rhio’s position I would first consider my quality of life. If the treatments were going to prolong my life in a state where I was able to enjoy the rest of my time with friends and family then I would proceed with finding the best doctors and treatment facilities out there. I would also consider that the decisions I make about my treatments would not only affect me, but it would affect those who are around me. Having the will to live and carrying myself with a positive attitude while battling cancer is the number one thing someone should concentrate on. If a person has the will and strength to live he or she will do everything in their power to win the battle.

Rhio’s situation inspired me because he did not take his diagnosis with the attitude that he was just going to give up and let the demon win. He fought until he could not fight any longer. He exhausted all of his resources to the point in which he could not use them anymore. He did the unthinkable, and survived a cancer that is terminal within the first six months to a year. Some would take that diagnosis and not do anything about it; they would go home, except it and say their life is over. Your life is not over if you are diagnosed with cancer, I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced a seven year old child tell me that she knows that she has a bad demon inside of her but that she is fighting them off with her tiny little body. She just wanted to be a typical seven year old child, and that is what she was doing. She was living her life.

I want to take this opportunity to honor all of Rhio’s accomplishments in fighting for his life. He did a tremendous job at finding out the research and new medicine that could help him prolong his life with quality. He wanted to survive, so he fought until he could. That to me is a true hero.

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