Last year, Meya noticed a lump in her collar bone. Initially, she was given an antibiotic for a suspected infection, and sent for a CT scan. Within two hours, Meya’s mom, Juliet, was told her daughter had either lymphoma or leukemia. A lymph node biopsy and a bone marrow test confirmed Stage 3 Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkin Lymphoma, a rare form of lymphoma. Thankfully, four treatments later, Meya has been declared cancer-free with clear scans and she is not looking back! As a student in the musical theater program at Henrico High School, Meya was anxious to get back on the stage and to the business of being a normal teenager.
“Don’t be scared of childhood cancer,” seventeen-year-old cancer survivor Meya courageously declares. “People are uncomfortable to talk about it because most associate cancer with loss. But it doesn’t have to be scary, and you don’t have to be afraid to talk about it.”
Meya’s mom, Juliet, is quick to add that a kid dealing with cancer is still a kid. “Although they’re going through cancer treatment, they still want to be with their friends and do teenage things. I chose to look for the positives in our situation and find the good that could come from childhood cancer.” Meya’s family was familiar with ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation because their neighborhood had participated in several fundraisers for ASK; but didn’t understand the magnitude of what ASK can do for a family faced with a childhood cancer diagnosis. “I spent last Christmas in the hospital, but when I woke up on Christmas morning, there were presents in my room. ASK was so thoughtful in purchasing presents specifically for me, and I was overwhelmed,” remembers Meya. “I have really benefited from the music therapy, as well, which is completely funded by ASK. Often, Brooke Cable, the ASK Clinic’s music therapist, and I performed together in the Clinic and it’s given me a way to continue preforming while I couldn’t be in school. It helped make the Clinic less of a clinic,” Meya laughs. ASK also assisted in getting Meya her first wig, which was important for her as she prepared to go back to school.
"We’re so happy to be on the other side of cancer now, and so grateful to ASK for their enormous support.”
An aspiring film maker, Meya has her sights set on college. “I want to take what I’ve learned from this experience and use it to my advantage,” says Meya. “I would say to others going through a cancer diagnosis to stay positive, be nosey and ask questions, and know that you can find the good in every situation.” “There have been many beautiful moments in this journey,” shares Juliet. “We’ve been blessed to find humor, the beauty in humanity, and we’ve learned that childhood cancer families are not fragile. We are stronger than we thought we could be. We’re so happy to be on the other side of cancer now, and so grateful to ASK for their enormous support.”