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A Success Story - Ashley Bureau

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Ashley Bureau 

Ashley is attending Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut, majoring in Nursing.  Her experience with cancer has helped shape her  career goal to become a Pediatric Oncology Nurse.  She is an Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (A.L.L.) survivor.  In her own words:

My experience with cancer has impacted my life values and career goals in many ways.  Even though I was only a year old when diagnosed, and don't remember much, it has still impacted me.  I have heard stories from family and nurses of what I went through, and what medication I was on, and I want to be able to share my experience with people who are currently receiving treatment, or who have a child, mother, father, or know anyone else who is receiving treatment.  I believe that I could be an inspiration of hope.

I remember one time I was at my clinic I go to every year, and one of the nurses said that there was a baby who had been diagnosed with what I had.  She thought it might be a good idea for me and my father to go talk to the mother, so we followed the nurse upstairs.  I think talking to me and my father, and hearing what it was like for him to go through it, and then for her to see me standing before her healthy, really proved to her that there actually was hope for her baby.

I want to be able to show people that cancer isn't the end.  There is life beyond it, and that anyone can walk out of the hospital healthy.  I have always wanted to go into the medical field.  I wanted to be a veterinarian for some time, but then I realized that I could help others going through the same thing as I went through, and that has been my passion for the past five or six years. 

I wish to go to nursing school to become a successful pediatric oncology nurse.  I want to help young kids dealing with cancer.  I don't want to just be told that I'm making a difference when I donate money to a cause, but I want to actually see it for myself when I see a sick child be able to walk out of a hospital because of my care for him or her.  I love helping people, and the feeling I get when I do help someone is really indescribable and amazing!  Being able to help people every day would be the best possible job.

I am excited about volunteering at a nearby cancer clinic, where I will be shadowing oncology nurses and interacting with cancer patients.

Having cancer has made a huge impact on me.  I sometimes find myself wondering whether or not I would be the same person if I didn't have cancer; would I be as smart as I am, or as happy, or energetic, or anything?  When I put that thought aside, I see that none of that matters; all that matters is that I am the person I am today because of it, whether I would have been different or not.  The doctors don't yet know what effects the medicine I had could bring in the future, but I know that whatever it is, good or bad, I can handle it, because dealing with this illness for three years as an infant has made me a stronger person, and I know that I can do anything I set my mind to.

Thank you Cancer Survivors' Fund for all your encouragement and support.  Without it, I would not be able to reach my goals and dreams of helping to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients.

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