Absolutely Thankful for the Door That Was Slammed Shut

jessica-and-dadI am thankful for many things.  Think for a moment about the gifts in your life.  Now close your eyes and fill your mind up of all the wonderful spectacular things we are thankful for.  Life is so special and we have so many thankful blessings around us as we approach thanksgiving.  I have fought my brain cancer and won. I am most definitely thankful for that. I am extremely thankful for the medicine, the doctors, nurses, and children’s hospital.  I have an amazing family.  Thanks, mom and dad!  I have a bed, clothes, food, an education, and people who love me.  Laughter… ah yes, laughter is awesome!  I am thankful that laughter is a big part of my life. I laugh a lot.  I especially like to laugh at the quirky things in life.  Life is full of quirks and I think that is what makes life so enjoyable.  I mean, look around and see the silly joy right in front of you.  I also give thanks to music.  Music can have its own powers.  Playing an upbeat dance tune will sure lift your spirits and energy.

There is something that I am not thankful for.  I am not thankful for my brain cancer.  Cancer stole my 5th grade year and part of my childhood.  I can’t get that back.  That door was slammed shut.  I missed out on recess, playgrounds, hanging with my friends, and even homework.  I lost what adults call my childhood innocence. Well, maybe not all of my childhood innocence, but apart of it had to be put on hold.  A child has a special playfulness and passion about things.  For a very long time, I was too sick to be playful and passionate.  I used to be able to dance like no one is watching.  Then for a very long year of my life, because of my cancer, there was no dancing.  Just being able to stand and take a few steps was a big accomplishment.  During my treatment, the door to my childhood was slammed shut because I was riddled with the experience of fighting for my life.  I saw that in many of my fellow pediatric patient buddies.  All of us sick kids had to grow up fast.  However, I think all of us kiddos, learned how to hold on and appreciate much of what was left of our childhood.

jessica-by-front-door

But you know what, I am absolutely thankful for the path my brain cancer put me on.  It opened this whole new door that I could have never even thought of.  I have been surrounded by incredible cancer survivors. There is a special sisterhood and brotherhood that connects cancer survivors.  That connection is pretty darn special.  I am so extremely thankful to be able to share my story and my message to local and national audiences.  I have had the honor of helping other kids like me through many different fundraisers and events.  I have learned to use my voice at such a young age. Finding my voice has been a very special gift that I am blessed to have discovered. Maybe one day, I will be giving thanks because we made a big enough difference in the pediatric cancer research world to end childhood cancer.  I can’t wait for that!

As I sit here on my warm cozy bed with my laptop being thankful for my blessings, my dogs are laying on my feet and keeping my toes warm.  Which reminds me, I am thankful for my dogs!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

dogs

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Jessica is a 14-year-old pediatric brain cancer survivor who advocates to end pediatric cancer with a goal to educate and inspire others. Jessica is on a mission to support organizations that help children fight cancer and raise funding to find the cure. Jessica is an ambassador for Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Make-A-Wish Middle TN, and Rally for Kids. Jessica is also the 2015-2016 Tennessee Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Champion Ambassador. Through Jessica's ambassadorship she has been featured in many national fund raising campaigns such as the "Put Your Money Where the Miracles Are," "Band Together," and as Cancer Crusher, an 18-episode Superhero-themed national PSA all for the CMNH organization. Jessica has even recently been featured with other cancer patients in the "Teen Cancer America" campaign with The Band Perry.

Jessica has a passion for public speaking. She is a showcased public speaker at many fundraising events. Recently Jessica was the closing plenary speaker for the American Academy of Pediatrics Hospital Medicine's annual convention in Chicago. Jessica has even received an opportunity to take her message to Washington DC with the CMNH Champion's Media Tour where she met with Senators and the Secretary of Health & Human Services.

Along with Jessica's love of public speaking she has also had her story featured in Hope Magazine, Look Book, and Nashville Lifestyles. Jessica has written for blogs and magazine articles for CMNH, Extra Life, and Make-A-Wish. Jessica is a skilled interviewer and continues to do on camera interviews of celebrities and donors for the organizations Jessica is involved with. Recently Jessica has been traveling as a cast member with the My 2nd Act Survivor Stories from the Stage.

About The Author

Jessica is a 14-year-old pediatric brain cancer survivor who advocates to end pediatric cancer with a goal to educate and inspire others. Jessica is on a mission to support organizations that help children fight cancer and raise funding to find the cure. Jessica is an ambassador for Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Make-A-Wish Middle TN, and Rally for Kids. Jessica is also the 2015-2016 Tennessee Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Champion Ambassador. Through Jessica's ambassadorship she has been featured in many national fund raising campaigns such as the "Put Your Money Where the Miracles Are," "Band Together," and as Cancer Crusher, an 18-episode Superhero-themed national PSA all for the CMNH organization. Jessica has even recently been featured with other cancer patients in the "Teen Cancer America" campaign with The Band Perry. Jessica has a passion for public speaking. She is a showcased public speaker at many fundraising events. Recently Jessica was the closing plenary speaker for the American Academy of Pediatrics Hospital Medicine's annual convention in Chicago. Jessica has even received an opportunity to take her message to Washington DC with the CMNH Champion's Media Tour where she met with Senators and the Secretary of Health & Human Services. Along with Jessica's love of public speaking she has also had her story featured in Hope Magazine, Look Book, and Nashville Lifestyles. Jessica has written for blogs and magazine articles for CMNH, Extra Life, and Make-A-Wish. Jessica is a skilled interviewer and continues to do on camera interviews of celebrities and donors for the organizations Jessica is involved with. Recently Jessica has been traveling as a cast member with the My 2nd Act Survivor Stories from the Stage.

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