Growing up, my parents were my superheroes. My mom still tells me stories of climbing between my parents on the couch every single morning while they had coffee and I had hot milk. Growing up, I spent tens of thousands of hours with my dad on the way to whatever sport I was in, watching movies or just throwing a baseball. Any moment he wasn't at work, we were together. But in the early hours of the 21st day of September 2011, my life changed forever. My dad, my best friend, was diagnosed with stage-4 Glioblastoma and given 4 months to live. Because of his drive to live and his brilliant surgeons, he battled for another 15 months before the disease finally claimed his life.
I was only in the 9th grade and hadn't yet had to learn how to shave or drive, two things a father should teach his son. When I came to grips with the hand my family was dealt, I made it my goal to do what I could to help others afflicted by cancer. I got my high school grades up (something my dad always pushed for) and matriculated to my dream school. Here, I was granted the opportunity to pursue my goal by not only studying the anatomy and physiology of the disease that took his life but also by conducting independent research on cancer. However, my journey is only beginning. I will be pursuing graduate school in the coming years, with the intention of continuing my cancer research and helping people keep their best friends by their sides for years, not just months.