Wisdom

Ashley Fazekas Family Story

Written: August 2018

My name is Ashley Fazekas. When I was one year old I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I went through 2 ½ years of chemotherapy and I am now 10 years off treatment. I still struggle daily with side effects from chemotherapy. My hands have 24/7, neverending, stabbing pain and it worsens when I pick up a pencil. It’s almost unbearable but I’ve learned that there is not much I can do to get rid of the pain so I press on and try my best to live my life. I also have weak legs and my ankles can sprain at just slight impact, It once happened while I was putting on my pajamas. It is hard being a teen at school. I feel like I’m different than every other kid. I get mocked because I have to get my notes typed out because I can’t write them and I sit out of gym class the majority of class just so I don’t sprain my ankles. The kids at school don’t really understand, so I always am feeling like I don’t belong.

At THON, I have met so many amazing college students and fellow THON families. When I am with them, I feel like I belong and no one has ever judged me for the way I am there. I have built so many relationships through THON. I think the relationships and the love I have for people I’ve met through this amazing organization is my favorite part. Without THON, I don’t know what I would do. It means the world to me. The environment around the THON family is just magical. When I am having a hard day I will text my THON friends and they are always there for me.

My favorite memory was two years ago during THON Weekend. While I was there this smiley Penn State student named Kenzie walked up to us, she talked to us for hours. We had never met her before but we made such a special connection. Since then Kenzie and I have kept in touch and we have gone on many adventures; mall trips, surprises, facetimes, and we spent almost the entire THON Weekend together the year we met and last year. She has helped me through the hardest times i’ve ever had in my life and has been there through the best times also. Without THON, I would have never met her and all the other people who love me from THON. Through THON I have experienced amazing moments also. I got to meet my childhood crush, Joe Jonas when he came to perform and I got to say hi before he went on to sing during THON Weekend, I still remember every second of it and it was an amazing memory. During the activity of kids mail call one year, I got a letter from one of the Penn State girls from my organization that said I am going to be given her baby kitty! I have her beside me right now and she’s now grown into a beautiful maine coon cat! THON has brought me so much joy and life changing events and happiness during my life, no other organization could do all of that!

THON has also paid all of my medical bills during treatment, I am considered a ‘two million dollar child’ with the medication and treatments I have needed to stay alive. I am forever grateful for that. My family has never received a bill for my treatment. Life is very hard for me at the moment but I know that I always have my THON family. I may have had cancer, but I will never ever let it define me. I am a strong, brave girl. I am so grateful that I am alive. Many of my friends have passed away from cancer but I know they’re all dancing in heaven right now. And for their families and friends on Earth, we celebrate their lives. If I have learned anything from cancer I have learned to live my life to the fullest and cherish everything I have. Even though I struggle, with THON I am not alone in the fight and I am loved. I am forever grateful for THON and Four Diamonds. “One day we will dance in celebration, until then we dance for a cure.” I can’t wait for that day to dance in celebration!