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A Success Story - Tricia Monnin

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Tricia Monnin 

Tricia has graduated from the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2010 majoring in Communication Sciences & Disorders.  She is a Pleomorphic Xanthastrocytoma (PXA) survivor.  In her own words:

A burning desire for helping people in need has always lit a fire in my heart.  Whether they be lonely, sickly, heartbroken, or whatever else.  I have always had a yearning to end their suffering.  I have also found through my life experiences that fixing other people's pain could make me forget about my own; and sometimes all I have to do to help is to stand strong and be brave. 

The winter when I was nine, I was diagnosed with cancer.  It is a very rare type of cancer that only seven kids in the world had been diagnosed with.  There were four tumors in my head and seven down my neck and spinal cord.  Supposedly, it will always stay in my central nervous system.  The doctors decided to try chemotherapy to make it stop growing.  One year later, as my cancer had gone into remission, I found out that one of our dear neighbors whom I would regularly visit, an elderly gentleman by the name of Gus now had cancer.  Soon after he passed away, his wife Florence also developed cancer and passed away as well.

When I was fourteen, my cancer started to grow again.  I told my friends at school, and though I expected them to be strong and brave for me, the reverse was true.  They were overcome with emotion, and it now appeared that I would have to be the strong one.  With many doctors' help, as a family we decided that to have the doctors operate on the tumor that was growing would be best; and then decide the plan of action to take from there.  Right before I was given the anesthetic, I smiled at my parents and said, 'See you in a couple of hours.'  I knew that my being relaxed made them feel a bit more relaxed.  The surgery was intense as my main cerebral artery runs right through the middle of the tumor the surgeon was operating on, but the surgery went fantastically, as I believed it would.  When I finally came to consciousness, I looked at my parents' faces hovering over me, 'See,' I told them, 'I told you everything would be alright.' With continued testing after the surgery, we discovered that the tumor went back into remission, meaning I would not have to receive any more chemotherapy at that point.

Since that time, I have remained in remission and have also continued to do the best I can to ease people's suffering.  Last winter, I took all of the stuffed animals people gave me while I was in the hospital down to Kentucky to give them away to poor or homeless children as Christmas presents.  I figured they would get much better use out of them than I could.  Las summer, one of my parent's friends had a daughter that got cancer.  As a family, we went down to Children's Medical Center to visit her, and I took along a few things that helped me deal with the situation eight years ago.  I gave her a pretty baseball cap for when her hair started to fall out and a book about kids who had cancer and survived.  I also told her that if she ever wanted to talk about things, she could call me.

While it may seem extraordinary for a young child to cope as I did, I realize now that he sum total of those experiences and the culmination of those years have provided me with a strong foundation that I will be able to stand upon for the rest of my life.  Through being selfless, strong and brave through past times in my life, I know I will be able to handle anything that is thrown at me in the future by continuing to help other people in need, especially through my career in the health field.

The scholarship is so incredible, so awesome! Thank you so much CSF, this will help so much for me to reach my goals and help other people in need.

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