Stories of Hope
ACS Scholars Photo Gallery
Article date: September 1, 2003
Five college students share their thoughts and dreams in this gallery. They're among some 1,200 childhood cancer survivors with scholarships from the American Cancer Society.
Amanda Peterson, 18
North Dakota State University
"I'm planning to study construction engineering . . . . I had taken a construction class in high school. The second year we built a house. It was really neat to see it go up. I enjoyed at the end of the day being able to say I helped build the house.\"
Peterson, pictured above, developed an endosinus tumor when she was 18 months old, lost her baby hair during treatment, and has been in remission for 16 years. She will be one of 13 women in the construction engineering program, along with 279 men."
Chris Burris, 21
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Chris Burris begins his second year on scholarship from ACS. He's studying agricultural engineering and grew up tinkering with equipment on his family's farm. Within days of being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, Chris flew to Houston to enter a clinical trial of the drug Gleevec. He credits ACS for funding research on Gleevec, the drug that has helped save his life. Cancer hasn't changed his plans for the future, but it has changed his perspective on life.
Don’t take life for granted—you don’t know when it’s going to change,” and, “never, never give up.”
Chrissy Morgan, 18
University of Florida
People told me if there's a cancer to get, this (Hodgkin's) is the best one. I know I was lucky. In the room where I went for chemotherapy, you could see on people's faces that they'd lost hope." ~ "In the last year, medical school seemed like more of a possibility. Maybe I survived this so I could do something about cancer in the future."
Christina Morgan was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease as she began her senior year of high school. While in treatment she did her class work at home, including assignments in four advanced placement (AP) classes—and she continued her commitment to the school band as a drum major. Christina attends the University of Florida's Honor College program and after her undergraduate degree she wants to train for a career in medicine, which she believes is a meaningful way to spend a lifetime.
Rebecca Hoh, 20
Northern Kentucky University
"Every animal trainer needs a good background in psychology," according to college junior and cancer survivor Rebecca Hoh—so that's what she's studying with help from an ACS scholarship. She hopes to work with whales and dolphins after finishing college.
A rare eye cancer called retinoblastoma destroyed the vision in Rebecca's right eye when she was only four months old, too young to remember the trauma. But she says nonetheless, "cancer has made me look at life differently. I don't have to see with my eyes to have a holistic perspective on the world."
Lindsay Floto, 18
Polk Community College, Winter Haven, Florida
"I plan to study business. My dad has a restaurant, Country Chicken and Fish, and I like the whole be your own boss thing. I also want to sing professionally, but if I don't, then I'll have a restaurant business. Singing is something I've wanted to do since I could talk."
On medical expenses: "I told (my parents) I'm gonna pay them back when I become a famous singer. I would buy my dad a Rolex and get my mom a new Volvo. They said not to worry: it's part of a parent's job."
In January 2000, doctors found a tumor on the brain stem was the cause of Floto's recurring headaches. Radiation shrunk and froze the tumor, and Floto went on to finish high school with a 3.7 GPA and was voted "most likely to succeed."