Ashley's Victory

My name is Ashley Dickinson and I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of seven. This came as quite a shock, as I was a very ordinary, playful child until I began experiencing a variety of symptoms. After several visits to my doctor, I was referred to a paediatrician, and after two days of testing I was diagnosed with cancer.

As a young child, I was not fully aware of the severity of my illness; however, I soon realized that I had more than just a common flu. I had just started the second grade, but my life was about to change drastically. I spent a great deal of time in the hospital, especially during the first year of treatment but with the help of my parents and tutors, I was able to stay at my grade level in school. My day to day routine had completely changed, rather than school, extracurricular activities and play dates with friends, I went to doctor appointments and chemotherapy treatments. I spent most of my time at home in bed and in the hospital as the drugs took away all of my energy and made me very ill. I also experienced different side effects from the drugs. One medication led to loss of blood circulation in my hip and I was confined to a wheelchair for several months and my bones became very weak. After just over two years of treatment, I was cured, a day I will never forget.

Although I was not sick, I still had some difficulties with my hip and regained strength over time. My orthopaedic surgeon recommended that I avoid certain physically demanding activities. This bothered me as I wanted to play sports and participate in activities like my peers. A few years after my treatment had ended, my condition improved and I was finally allowed to do whatever I wanted with no limitations.

Although my battle with cancer was difficult, I was very grateful for the support of my family, friends and healthcare providers. My parents never left my side, and I was always in good hands at The Moncton Hospital and the I. W. K. Children’s Hospital.  This experience has changed me, and I believe that I am a better person as a result. I no longer take anything for granted, and I have certainly gained compassion for others and their hardships after such a journey. Currently I am enjoying studying sciences at Université de Moncton. Cancer has taught me many lessons and given me a new perspective on life.

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