I am participating in the 2022 Jimmy Fund Walk, taking steps toward the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer.
In 1975, my aunt, Rhonda Htoo, was just 18 years old when she was first diagnosed with cancer at Dana Farber. When most people are trying to figure out how to adjust in college and deciding what career they want to pursue, she was faced with a different set of unimaginable challenges. She became a pioneer and helped to define the way cancer is treated today. Through the advances in technology and medical research she was able to defy the odds and continue living her life to the fullest and she was there to guide and support me. She was later diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Despite her diagnosis, it didn’t stop her from making it a yearly event to participate in the Jimmy Fund walk. In 2017 she asked me to walk in the Jimmy Fund with her. I was so excited that out of everyone she could have asked, she asked me and that we were going to cross that finish line together. But just a few weeks before the walk she passed away and we never got the chance. Every year since then I’ve been walking in her memory.
On August 14, 2021, I married the love of my life. Just 2 months later, on October 14th, I was diagnosed with advanced stage follicular lymphoma. Instead of riding that honeymoon high and thinking about having kids, we’ve been forced to think about what life would look like without each other. Although my cancer can be treated, there are currently no known cures. And even though we’re optimistic that one day there will be a cure, it’s not possible without organizations like the Jimmy Fund.
Not only is the scientific research critical but the programs that support patients through their journeys are equally as important. Dana Farber’s Young Adult Program has provided me with emotional and social support, it’s empowered me, and helped ease the emotional burden of living & coping with cancer. If you are able to, please also consider donating to the DFCI Young Adult Program.
Thank you for supporting my Jimmy Fund Walk fundraising efforts. Together, we can defy cancer!