Overcoming Difficulty As A Side-Out Ambassador

The Oakridge School Ambassador Shivani poses with friends

The Ambassador Program experience opened my eyes to a lot of new information. I did not realize that there were so many variables that go into the decision of what treatment plan a patient receives, how important support systems are, and the emotional toll it takes on the patient and their support system. 

An Eye-Opening Experience

Talking to a survivor who has been in remission for two years, they explained that going through chemotherapy and radiation was one of the hardest things she had experienced. Even though she was in her twenties and thirties when going through chemo and radiation, she was always fatigued. Her body was struggling to handle it all. 

If she were older, her treatment plan might have been different. At an older age, the body has grown more tired and does not have the same energy to take the medicine one can take at a younger age. So, knowing the age, how well they can tolerate it, what type of cancer it is, and what stage it is are factors that go into determining what treatment plan works for each person. 

If it is stage one or stage two, it easier to cure and surgery is the most common plan for treatment. Every cancer may have the same name, but they are not truly the same because each person’s body is unique so cancer will behave differently in each person. Cancer is a deadly disease that takes a lot of support from family and friends. I never realized the impact a support system could make on a survivor or fighter.

 I went to a breast cancer event for my Ambassador Program education hours and was grateful to be able to have conversations with them and their caregivers. One of the caregivers said he was going to base his reaction off his wife’s. If she was devastated, he was going to give support say it’s ok, we will get through it. Talking to so many people, everyone said they were fortunate enough to have at least one person by their side to help them get through the awful disease.

Just having someone along the journey, definitely helps because, during the fight, it can get difficult. One survivor said, “It’s ok to cry, you can do whatever you want.” Going through chemotherapy and radiation is brutal, but having someone there to lift your spirits say to let you cry is what helps the fighters get through it. Talking to Dr.Patel, he finds that fighters who don’t have a strong support system, sometimes tend to slack on taking their medicine and following his instructions to get better. 

I learned that I made everything personal. Having family members affected by the awful disease and talking to survivors, I wanted to make everything perfect for them. I wanted to show that everyone has a support system. You may not see it, but a system is always there. I want everything to go smoothly for them, and show them that they have so many supporters behind them and that they are loved.

Problem Solving As An Ambassador

Typically we have more events for Pink Out but this year we were limited to only having a volleyball game. It was challenging to match the funds we made last year with multiple events. So, we came up with unique ideas to hopefully raise the same amount as in previous years. Some ideas were a bake sale, a donation table, and handcrafted jewelry to sell. 

The most popular idea was the bake sale because, by the time the game was over, the treats were gone. Every year we have a bake sale and a donation table, but this year since we’re limited to one event, we added the handcrafted jewelry to sell. We wanted a bigger variety of things to sell, and we wanted to appeal to a wider range of people. 

I learned that I can run an event by myself. When I first signed up to lead Pink Out, I was unsure that I could get everything done in time. I didn’t think that I could raise any money, and I was afraid of hearing no. But, I kept pushing through because I know this money goes to an amazing cause. 

Knowing that I could help at least one person go through this awful disease is what motivated me to continue throughout this process. Now that Pink Out is over, I still want to hear from survivors and hear their stories because it is still going on. Just because October has passed doesn’t mean that breast cancer goes away. 

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