My name is Stephanie Larson, and I am a cancer survivor!
When I was 2 years old I was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma. My mom noticed something funny in my left armpit when I was playing in the tub and reaching up for a toy, there was a lump. She took me to the doctors the next day and we were sent to Children’s Hospital; within the week I had surgery and started Chemotherapy and Radiation. I received extensive treatments until I was 4. I am fortunate enough to say that I have been in remission for 25 years.
One day, when I was at Children’s getting my annual check-up, I was about 13 years old, I was introduced to Dan Mornar (former Patient & Parent Advocate for Oncology at BCCH). At the time he was organizing Balding for Dollars Teen Adventures. As he explained what Teen Adventures were and what ones were offered, my eyes got wider and wider with excitement. Not only did I get the choice to go horseback riding, or white water rafting, I got to be in place where I felt I fit in. Since that first chance meeting with Dan, I have been involved with Balding for Dollars. I am so grateful for the support, hope and community Balding has brought me.
I had just gotten married in late 2017 and decided that another big life changing decision was happening, I was going back to school to finish my degree. So January of 2018 I had my first class in 5 years, I was so nervous! This opportunity was possible because of the education bursary from Balding for Dollars, I am so thankful to have been awarded this bursary twice since going back to school. These bursaries have substantially aided in my school expenses and without them, I do not think I would have been going back to school.
I have gotten the pleasure of volunteering at the Main Event for the last two years. I have met some amazing people, heard their stories and made new connections. I also had the opportunity to pair up with my hairdresser to collect hair donations. I knew making a wig was a lot of pony tails but I didn’t realize it took SO many. I am proud to be a part of this community and give back to a place that supported my parents and I through my cancer journey.
Balding for Dollars has played a major role in shaping the person I am today. I am so thankful to be a recipient of the education bursary, as well as the other opportunities I have been a part of. Thank you to everyone who donates to Balding for Dollars, you have made a huge impact on my life and the lives of many others!