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A Success Story - Audrea Melton

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Audrea Melton 

Audrea is attending the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, Indiana, majoring in Education & Human Services.  She is a Ganglioglioma Brain Tumor survivor.  In her own words:

“Before October 29, 1997, I valued life just as any other eight-year old would; believing that there would be nothing stopping me and that I had all the time in the world to do things.  On that day, the way I view and value life changed forever.  That morning I woke up and went to school, as I would any other day.  However, I never would have expected what was to come would alter my life forever.

 The entire morning went by as normal as possible, until recess.  I was hanging upside-down on the parallel bars and when I had gotten down, I began to complain of a bad headache.  This was unusual because I had never complained if a headache.  One of my teachers asked me if I could walk to the building.  I tried then sat back down and said, 'I can't, my head hurts too much.'  Before reaching the building doors, I vomited on one of the teachers.

I was rushed into a CAT Scan and the films were reviewed.  Discovering the severity of my brain tumor, I was Lifeflighted to Children's Hospital in Louisville and rushed into emergency surgery.  Through that long year in the hospital, I had some annoyances and some good times.  One annoyance was Dr. Cristiano; he had the horrible job of giving me lumbar shots.  One day when I heard them coming, I filled a syringe halfway with water.  When they entered the room, I persuaded Dr. Cristiano to come close and then squirted him in the eye.

Meanwhile, my parents kept my third grade class informed about how I was doing.  My brother and sister, together, would walk over to the grade school to pick up gifts and hand-made cards from my class.

The first year, I had five surgeries, and in the spring of 1998, I returned to school.  I was back to what become my normal life.  The only thing that remained the same until sixth grade was my cheerleading.  In the spring of 1999, I underwent my sixth surgery.  This hospital stay lasted one week, and I went into the fifth grade.

My sixth grade year went smoothly until we went to Louisville for an M.R.I. and were told that my seventh surgery had to be scheduled.  On April 2, 2001, I went to Louisville for my seventh surgery.  My side effects from my surgery were losing a majority of my mobility in my left side.  After returning home, I had occupational and physical therapy to help me in regaining my mobility, continuing therapy through the rest of the school year.

Today I have regained over eighty percent of my mobility in my left side and still suffer from headaches and balance and coordination deficiencies.  After all of my experiences that came with my brain tumor, I have learned to value life, never take it for granted, and live life to the fullest.  Before, I had never thought of my career goals.  Now that I have to think of my career goals.  I now look more into the various talents I have, while others decide to go with one talent and do not look into anything else.”

Cancer Survivors' Fund is excited to partner with Audrea as she reaches toward her goal of serving the public in the communications industry.

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