College Student and Childhood Cancer Survivor Advocates for Children’s Cancer Research
Up until she was 11-years-old, Samantha Sowa was like most girls her age – she loved spending time with her family, traveling to new cities and playing with friends. That all changed when she was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma. Doctors were baffled to see this particular type of cancer in someone so young and her family was completely devastated. Samantha took a vow to stay positive and keep the family composed and together throughout her entire cancer journey.
“Throughout my entire journey, which lasted more than a year, I had two surgeries, two doses of radioactive iodine, some biopsies, countless neck ultrasounds, full-body scans and bloodworm,” said Sowa. “The first surgery was to remove my entire thyroid, a parathyroid, and a lymph node and the second surgery almost a year later was to remove the surrounding lymph nodes that looked cancerous. My family and I were, of course, very nervous with every treatment, but remained hopeful and never lost our faith.”
Sowa beat childhood cancer and she’s currently in remission. Today Samantha is an actuarial science student at North Central College, but her cancer journey sparked a deep passion for childhood cancer research fundraising. She even spent her senior year of high school working on research project to help uncover the factors that influence a donor to give for childhood cancer research and recently did a TedX talk at her university highlighting the importance of childhood cancer research.
Her passion doesn’t end there. Samantha became involved with CureSearch in 2012, and currently sits on a Superheroes Unite! volunteer committee. She is fundraising for the 2018 CureSearch Superheroes Unite! event in Chicago to help raise awareness of the urgency of CureSearch’s mission to end children’s cancer.
“Become aware of the facts and statistics of childhood cancer and realize that cancer not only impacts adults, but harms children as well. I encourage everyone to get to know a childhood cancer patient or survivor, because their scar also has a story, and that story might bring us one step closer to finding a cure,” said Sowa. “Childhood cancer research is vastly underfunded, and we currently have minimal government support, so childhood cancer research organizations rely on private donors to help.”
Join Samantha at the 2018 Superheroes Unite! Chicago event which takes place on Sunday, September 16 at Boomer’s Stadium with check in and registration starting at 9 a.m.
Superheroes Unite! is a family friendly superhero-themed event that unites the community around the children who are battling cancer and those who have lost their lives to the disease. The event raises critical funds for childhood cancer research and includes a 1-mile walk and family-fun activities such as face painting, food, music, medal ceremony and more. Register or learn more at curesearchsuperheroes.org.
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