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A Success Story - Sara Richardson

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Sara Richardson 

Sara is attending Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, majoring in Music Therapy.  Sara's cancer experience has shown her the therapeutic and comforting power of music.  She has been able to record some of her own music and share her testimony, which grew from her medical experience.  She is an Osteosarcoma survivor.  In her own words:

I finally forced myself to look down at my toes poking up under my bed sheets.  Just a few hours ago there had been ten…now there were only five.  What would life be like now with an amputation?  All I could see was a future of frustration, pain, and disability.

My six-year course of treatment for bone cancer included 15 surgeries, dozens of chemotherapy treatments, hundreds of IV's, and countless nights in the hospital.  Often during this time of suffering, listening to music was the only thing that would distract and comfort me.  I would sing along to the words to take my mind off my pain.  I found the melodies very soothing, and I discovered that music helped me connect to spirituality and dwell on positive thoughts.  Through music I could be liberated from the negative aspects of my disease and filled with the strength to persevere through my battle with cancer.

After a fourth tumor developed in my leg, I was given a less than 10% chance of long-term survival.  However, after my amputation and four years of being cancer-free, I am confident that my life has been spared for a great purpose.  I believe that attending Ohio University is critical in equipping me for that great purpose.  A bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy would provide me with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to embark on the life-long journey of helping others with music.  Just as music helped me cope with limb loss and cancer treatment, I hope to spend the rest of my life sharing music with others so they can overcome their obstacles.  The opportunity to pursue music therapy would not only fulfill my dreams of being a therapist but also allow me to help others.

Since I began voice lessons at the age of seven, I have loved sharing music with the world.  From singing in the church choir to presenting classical pieces at Glidden Hall, vocal performance has been a meaningful way to express myself to an audience.  During my teen years I have composed songs of my own that communicate my passion and faith. 

Beating the odds against death itself, I believe that life is too precious to waste on insignificant things.  Every day I realize more and more that life isn’t about me and that a life well-spent is committed to helping others.  Ever since my amputation I have enjoyed motivational speaking as a way to connect to the public and share my survivorship story.  I hope to convey this message to the world through my music and speaking: Don’t waste your life…be passionate for a worthy cause and devote all your heart, soul, and strength to it.

During the four years since my amputation, I have come to realize that missing a leg has not been a stressful disability but rather a reminder that life is about something bigger and better than having a healthy body…it’s about passion.  It is a huge blessing to talk to new cancer patients facing amputation, answer some of their questions, and show them how they can still live life to the fullest despite a missing limb. Through my educational opportunities at Ohio University, I am more excited than ever about my future of sharing my passion with the world.  It is a miracle I am alive, and I don't want to waste any second of my life.

 'Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of others.' -Albert Einstein

Thank you Cancer Survivors' Fund, for sharing my passion with me.  Your support is so precious to me.”

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