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13 Years of Childhood Cancer

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by Eli Talley, ALSF

When I was 4 years old in August 2005, I was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma. Thirteen years later, I’m still fighting every day and I don’t intend on stopping any time soon. 

Since I was so young at diagnosis, I did not really know what was going on. All I knew was that I was going to the hospital so the doctors could look at me and figure out why my leg was hurting. After performing tons of tests and taking lots of blood, they told me that I was sick and had something called cancer. They also said that they were going to do everything they could to make me feel better and help me to not be sick anymore. I knew it was something serious—I could tell from my parents’ reactions. However, I didn’t fully grasp it until I was a few years older. 

When I was about 10 years old, six years after my initial diagnosis, I began to really understand what was happening. At this point, I had done many treatments in my hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas and many more at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I had relapsed multiple times. While at the hospital, I started to think “Hey, I really would rather be with my friends right now,” or would dream of the day I got out of there and went back home. I began to see how my treatment not only affected me but affected my loved ones around me. I began to realize that none of my friends or the other kids went to the hospital nearly as much as me. Still, to this day, I struggle with finding my peers. 

But if there’s anything that came from my experience to be thankful for, it’s that it has made me look at my priorities and my life completely different than I think I would have otherwise. The state of my physical health is quite obvious and easy to determine. I spend more time analyzing my mental and emotional health, which is unfortunately less obvious and easy to determine. I’m also thankful for the opportunity to be part of all the research, trials and fundraisers that all contribute to finding cures and bringing awareness. 

I just started working here at Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation and being in the office is eye-opening. The wonderful thing about bringing awareness and helping out is that anything and everything can make a difference. Whether it be telling a friend about ALSF, going to a fundraiser or donating something, all of that makes a huge difference in the big picture of things. It’s amazing to see the process of everything and see all the hard work that goes into trying to find cures.

ALSF has changed my life forever. It has helped me and my family in ways that I can never be thankful enough for. I hope that by bringing awareness and doing my part, I can help change another family’s life as well. 

About Eli Talley
Eli Talley is 17 years old and interns at ALSF. He was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma in August of 2005. Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Eli now lives in Philadelphia. In his free time, he loves to write music, play guitar, watch movies, and hang out with his friends.