• 54°

Battles with cancer strengthen family bonds

By Matt Washko

Special to the Post

When I was very young, my sister was diagnosed with cancer. Within five years from that time, my mother was diagnosed as well.

This was very life-changing for me as I spent the next few years living in hospitals, my grandparents’ house, my house and a rental apartment. I went from just hearing about cancer and how bad it was to actually experiencing its effects and dealing with them.

While my sister was ill, my parents had to devote most of their time to her needs while my grandparents looked after me. My grandparents were and are very active, so we spent a lot of time outdoors. For example, they just completed a 90-mile kayak race, which is pretty impressive at any age.

They taught me to appreciate nature and to enjoy exercising, two values I continue to hold today. I now play four varsity sports for school and many other seasonal sports.

The hospital where my sister stayed also had a roof-top playground and some toys. My sister and I would hang out and play with other children there at the hospital. At this time, I looked up to my sister and wanted to be just like her. While other kids were in day care and pre-school, we were doing advanced school work and art. This helped me be more creative as well as giving my academics an early boost.

When my mother was diagnosed, I was a little older. I developed more independence and persistence as I did some tasks that parents would normally do. Before then, I never fully appreciated how much my family did for me.

Some of my earliest memories are from when my family was fighting cancer. Although I did not always know exactly how serious the situation was, I knew that my sister and mother were sick.  …

Being in and around hospitals so much, I developed an appreciation for the doctors and the work they do. This has been a major part of my motivation to enter the medical field. As a result, I continue to volunteer with several organizations that aid in cancer research and awareness. Most importantly, throughout all this time, my parents, our friends and this community constantly prayed. My faith in God was strengthened, and I remain devout today.

Both my mom and my sister are cancer free and well. Our epic fight against cancer has made us stronger and more optimistic. This struggle has changed my life greatly and helped make me who I am.

Matt Washko is a senior at Salisbury High School. 

 

Comments

News

From poult to Thanksgiving centerpiece, Evans Family Farm knows how to raise turkeys

Education

Catawba, Livingstone not bringing students back until after the holidays

Education

‘Just because’: Partners in Learning surprises staff with $15,000 in bonuses, turkeys

Local

Few applications received for state’s child care, remote learning assistance grant

Local

Girls Scouts pack meals for Meals on Wheels Rowan

Education

RCCC offering solutions for students wanting to jumpstart their college education

Education

PetSmart donation to Essie Mae Kiser Foxx

Crime

Salisbury Police ready to roll out regional crime center before end of the year

Education

Shoutouts: North Hills Christian School announces homecoming king and queen

Local

‘An icon of China Grove:’ Former China Grove Elementary students remember custodian Carl Wilkerson

College

Catawba basketball: The struggle to play the games

News

What are Salisbury, Rowan County leaders thankful for in 2020?

Christmas Happiness

Faith American Legion Auxiliary gives to Christmas Happiness Fund to honor vets

Local

‘Tis the Season Spectacular Christmas parade provides entertainment, holiday spirit

Coronavirus

Four new COVID-19 deaths, total of 131 reported in Rowan

BREAKING NEWS

Operations suspended, inmates transferred from Piedmont Correctional’s minimum security facility

Crime

Man charged with failing to register as sex offender

Crime

Police say DNA evidence ties Salisbury man to bank robbery attempt

News

Catawba College researchers say invasive beetle will kill significant portion of ecological preserve’s ash trees

Elections

Dr. Fauci, Kanye West, Jesus Christ among presidential write-in candidates in Rowan County

Crime

Salisbury Police receive grant for social justice, racial equity training

Local

When weather turns cold, where do Rowan County wildlife go?

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged faces marijuana charge after being served with unrelated warrant

Coronavirus

Local health officials see record testing numbers ahead of Thanksgiving