Living With Cancer

By: Jessica Aspiras
By: Jessica Aspiras

"It started to be the size of a golf ball. Now it's a strawberry size. It actually looks like a strawberry."

To hear 22-year-old Annabelle Kong talk about her brain tumor, it's almost as if she didn't realize it could take her life. But she knows. She just chooses to be friends with her cancer rather than its enemy.

"I think I've always just been like this. I just try to live to the fullest. If you have a situation, you just have to make each moment count."

Annabelle first learned about the tumor three and a half years ago. But it wasn't until two years later that it became a problem.

"That's when cancer kind of hit me. Oh, it's growing. I had to do surgery."

She's had half of it removed and is currently on oral chemo-therapy to control its size. Despite all she's been through, she remains optimistic.

"My mom always worries about me and asks, are you afraid of death? But somehow I'm not afraid."

Instead she puts all of her energy into bringing awareness about the disease. Her favorite project is the annual East Lansing Relay for Life. According to Kate Follett, of the American Cancer Society, it's an event involving the community, specifically designed for survivors, and honoring those lost.

"Even if it's not the same diagnosis or prognosis, it's still a healing experience. And giving that hope to one another and a part of that community."

While Annabelle is doing pretty well now, she doesn't know what lies ahead, if her tumor will get worse or better.

"Right now I just focus on the moment itself."

The East Lansing Relay for Life is Saturday June 10. It starts at 10 a.m. and lasts for 24 hours. It's located at Demonstration Field, behind "Sparty," on MSU's campus. For more information contact the American Cancer Society at 517-242-0730.


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