It was an ordinary day for Brittany Fernandez, a then middle school student, until life as she knew it took a turn upside down. She was rushed to the emergency room and received the news she was diagnosed with leukemia.
September is dedicated to Childhood Cancer Awareness and reminds this campus of the courageous stories of fellow students, such as Fernandez, now junior nutrition science major, who have beat cancer.
According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, nearly 16,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year. About a quarter of them are not likely to survive the disease.
Childhood Cancer Awareness month can bring light to the different types of cancers most commonly affecting children, as well as survivorship issues. The main purpose, however, is to raise funds to help support cancer research and the families affected.
Fernandez radiates with positivity and openness when she speaks about her fight against cancer. She battled the disease and went through a series of treatments until her final treatment in June 2014, when doctors declared Fernandez to be cancer-free.
Going through such a disease may make a person angry or bitter, but Fernandez said she sees life’s circumstances differently.
“It was kind of like a blessing in disguise. I have a great relationship with my mom now and with God,” Fernandez said. “I look forward to the future, I have plans, things that I want to do. I don’t let it hinder anything.”
Having gone through this disease, Fernandez is now able to share her positive spirit with children in similar circumstances. During the summer, Fernandez volunteered at a children’s cancer camp in Kansas called Camp Hope.
Although Fernandez is no longer volunteering at Camp Hope, she is back in Riverside, where there are several
opportunities to support children and families affected by cancer around the community.
The Let it Be Foundation, a local organization, is dedicated to supporting families of children with cancer or
other life-threatening illnesses. Their purpose is to provide services and support to families so they may begin to feel normal again.
The Let it Be Foundation stands by families throughout their entire time in treatment by providing room makeovers, and cleaning and gardening services to lighten the stress load on the entire family .
“Without volunteerism we would not be able to do what we do, our volunteers are the
backbone of what we do,” said Cory Overstreet, office and career coordinator of the foundation.
To recieve more information about how to become
proactive in bringing awareness to the battle against childhood cancer, visit