Congratulations to Claire Broadhead, 18, a first-year college student at Stevenson University in Maryland, the recipient of the John Foy & Associates Strong Arm Leukemia Scholarship. The scholarship is open to any college student whose life has been affected by leukemia. And Claire, at the age of 9, was afflicted by the disease.
Claire counsels families with children facing this disease that there is hope: “It is overwhelming and it is difficult, but I am here now.’’
Claire’s medical journey began at 9, when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Some 3,500 children a year are diagnosed with leukemia. As any child understandably would be, she was terrified of the needles and medical procedures that faced her. For the next 2.5 years, Claire received treatments that left her with Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac Disease, and hypothyroidism. She was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening reactions multiple times.
The lives of her parents, Stephanie and Lamar, revolved around Claire’s terrifying journey. Her parents, Claire said, tried to balance her needs with those of her brother, Evan, who is only three years older than her.
But a few groups of medical professionals gave her comfort and courage — her nurse practitioner and oncology nurses.
“They didn’t just treat me medically, they comforted me, calmed me down when I was scared, and listened to me thoughtfully when I needed to be heard,” Claire wrote in her essay.
Today Claire is studying to become a nurse, with hopes to specialize in pediatric oncology.
In her interview, Claire talked about her oncologist who made a difference in her health and attitude. She called her “Dr. High Heels” because the physician marched around the hospital in high heels. She, like Claire, is a cancer survivor. Her confidence in Claire and her treatment was so high, that Claire became confident she would be OK.
Today Claire helps other children with leukemia and their families. She participates in an event her soccer teammates started when Claire first became ill — Claire’s Cup, a charity event that raises funds for children facing a serious medical challenge. And she and her family bring dogs to sick children.
Dogs brought great comfort to Claire when she was sick. Playing with dogs made her feel normal throughout her abnormal treatment.
“Dogs don’t see what’s wrong with you,’’ she said.
John Foy & Associates started the Strong Arm Leukemia Scholarship to support college students whose lives have been affected by this disease. Leukemia is the most common form of cancer in children. Survivors, like Claire, are tough and determined and deserve a helping hand.
As one of Georgia’s largest and most successful personal injury law firms, we understand that not every battle is fought in the courtroom. Some are solitary and isolating, fought inside hospitals and medical clinics.
For more information on the scholarship, visit this link.