During my freshman year at the University of Alabama, my 14-year-old brother, David, was diagnosed with Demoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor (DSRCT), an incredibly rare and aggressive cancer. This diagnosis drastically changed the lives of my entire family and led me to fall in love with the Child Life profession. Two year later, we were out of treatment options and, in April of 2017, David passed away. As my family reminisced on our memories together, I realized that despite the pain and dark times we faced, we found immense joy in the times we spent together as a family.
Now I am a graduate student at Alabama, majoring in Human Development and Family Studies, and working to become a Child Life Specialist. I had heard about Smile-A-Mile from classmates and friends who had volunteered before, but when Madison came to speak to my class about SAM, I knew interning would be an incredible opportunity. SAM’s mission to bring hope and joy to the entire family throughout the childhood cancer journey really spoke to me, so I was beyond excited to be the Spring intern!
Getting to help with the Hospital Outreach Program has already given me such meaningful hands-on experiences with patients and allowed me to bring a little fun into the hospital. I have also loved getting to see and help with the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making all SAM’s programs possible. SAM has brought my family’s cancer experience full circle, so I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to help reach these children and their families. I cannot wait to see what the rest of my time here will bring!