My name is Lia Goh. I am 12 years old and I am a cancer survivor.
When I was three years old, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I went through three years of treatments, including chemotherapy. I lost all of my hair; it almost grew back blonde!! And I received more blood transfusions than I can remember.
In fact, I don’t remember a lot about my cancer or its treatment.
Like how my parents had to take leave from work and my family rented an apartment in Toronto because I spent most of that first year in the hospital. Or how I was in isolation for a lot of that year. Or how I spent so much time in bed that my muscles atrophied, and my dad had to carry me everywhere.
I am old enough now to realize how lucky I am. I am lucky to have the support and love of family and friends. I am lucky that my parents had the freedom and the financial means to take the time off work to be with me. Many families don’t have that luxury. I am lucky to have benefitted, and I will continue to benefit, from the support of some incredible organizations, such as POGO.
And my dad always says that I am especially lucky to have benefitted from so many kids that came before me. From the research that has been done, and so many incredible services that have been created to support kids with cancer, their families and survivors like me.
From the time my brother and I were little, my dad would read a poem to us called “The Champion’s Creed.” In it, there is a line that has always stuck with me:, “Dedicate yourself to a mighty purpose.”
I can’t think of anything more mighty than helping to beat childhood cancer. So, I feel responsible to do as much as I can for all the kids who are fighting this battle now and all who will be fighting it in the future.
Watch Lia deliver her full speech here. Video courtesy of Natasha McKenty.