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Battle like a Bearcat

Battle like a Bearcat

High school is a day-to-day battle that occurs in the body, the mind and the soul. It is four years of constant struggles and hardships that tests one’s character.

Sophomore Amanda Snowbarger is not one to let life slow her down. Her schedule is constantly filled to the brim with activity after activity, at school, varsity softball, junior varsity volleyball, leadership, and church; where she has thrived in every setting. She is a 4.0 GPA student who participates in leadership and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was a key player for the JV volleyball team. S

he was pulled up to the varsity softball as a freshman. She is a leader for her church and youth group at the Church of Nazarene, and she participates in little-league field clean ups, food/clothes drives, gift bag supply runs to elementary teachers.

It is easy to see that Mandy Snowbarger is not one be scared away from a challenge.

But cancer is a battle that occurs in the body, the mind and the soul. Not only do the cancer cells attempt to destroy one’s body, but also slash at the mind and spirit. Only those who are strong-willed, have a fighting spirit, and believe in a positive outcome will be able to escape cancer’s grips.

Snowbarger received news on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016 that would shake anybody’s life: she had been diagnosed with leukemia. The news came after what was expected to be an average trip to the doctor’s office to find out why she had been experiencing dizziness, headaches, and shortness of breath. Dr. James Tedford found blood tests showing anaemia, a condition that develops when blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin.

Tedford referred the Snowbarger family to Sierra Vista Hospital in San Luis Obispo, who quickly referred her to Stanford’s Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto. There, a bone marrow biopsy confirmed the harrowing news: Snowbarger had leukemia.

Leukemia is a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues and is the sixth most common form of cancer in the world, with an estimated 60,140 new cases in 2016, according to the National Cancer Institute.

And all of these are traits that Snowbarger has shown in every aspect of her life. Friends and classmates have witnessed her determination to be her best possible self, all while keeping a smile on her face– and never more than now.

Since her diagnosis in December, Snowbarger has started the road to recovery. She spent most of January at Stanford going through multiple treatments including rounds of chemotherapy to fight off “L”, Snowbarger’s ironic word combination of loss and leukemia.

But after 34 days in Palo Alto, she was able to come home for six days. Snowbarger’s mother, Theresa, described her emotions as “grateful, relieved, surprised and ecstatic”, according to a Caring Bridge post on January 31.

Although the journey is really just beginning, the future looks hopeful as Snowbarger appears to be fighting off “L”. After 29 days of treatment, the amount of marrow that contained cancer cells dropped from 95% to 0.16%.

After a successful first phase of treatment, Snowbarger will be starting the second phase called “consolidation”. During these stages she will most likely be going up to Stanford around once a week to continue her fight.

Taking all of this into consideration, the future looks extremely bright.

A long road lies ahead for Snowbarger with an expected two or more years of treatment, but she stands ready to take on whatever challenges the future may hold.

Snowbarger’s courage and unwavering belief in a positive outcome comes from her strong faith and each day living by the words found in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

[ess_grid alias=”AmandaSnowbarger”]

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