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Ewing Sarcoma Survivor Hopes to Become Oncologist

Article date: June 10, 2013

Alexandra Ojeda - Stories of Hope

"I feel my problem was just God's way of letting me know my role in this planet. I am alive because I am meant to help those parents and children who might be affected by this painful and awful disease."

 

Alexandra Ojeda is a junior in college, dreaming of one day going to medical school and becoming the best oncologist in the world. When Ojeda was only 1 year old and living in Venezuela, she was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

Ojeda’s case was unusual because Ewing sarcoma is more often diagnosed in teenagers. It also typically starts in bones of the hips or legs, but Ojeda’s cancer was in the right side of her jaw.

“I feel my problem was just God’s way of letting me know my role in this planet,” said Ojeda. “I am alive because I am meant to help those parents and children who might be affected by this painful and awful disease.”

Ojeda was treated in the United States, and her family eventually moved to Georgia. At 17, she has had 31 surgeries to remove and reconstruct part of her jaw. She also underwent chemotherapy.

These days, Ojeda remembers little from her treatment and has no evidence of cancer remaining. She has regular checkups to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned. And she plans to have surgery in the future, to remove scars from her face and from her leg, where some bone was taken to reconstruct her jaw.

Georgia Tech Relay For Life

Currently a student at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Ojeda has become actively involved in Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society’s annual community event to celebrate cancer survivors and raise money for cancer research and patient programs.

For the past 2 years, Ojeda was captain of a fundraising team at Georgia Tech that raised almost $1700. One of the highlights of every Relay For Life event is the survivors lap, when all cancer survivors are invited to walk around the track, cheered on by all other participants and volunteers.

“Walking the survivors’ lap made me feel really happy,” said Ojeda, “and my parents were crying.”