Senior Katie Lawless has beat Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) twice. The first time was when she was seven and the second was when she was nine.
“The thing I was most excited for was that I could finally start growing my hair out again,” Lawless said via email.
Lawless is now eight years cancer free.
“I’m happy to be healthy,” Lawless said.
Cancer has given Lawless a new perspective.
“While I’m not thankful at all for the cancer or the negative impacts that it’s had, I am thankful for the perspective it’s given me. It brought both sides of my family together, and that’s something that I think is really great. I think that the experience is what really drives me to want to help others and volunteer,” Lawless said.
As for volunteer work, Lawless has mainly worked with two organizations.
“Camp Rainbow and Friends of Kids with Cancer. The moment I could be a camp counselor I signed up. I really wanted to be able to help other kids have the same great experience I did. I think camps like Camp Rainbow are really special because most of the people there understand what you went through or are going through,” Lawless said.
“With Friends of Kids so far I have helped out with art from the heart and their fashion show fundraiser. I think the fashion show is really cool because the kids kinda get to be normal kids and just have fun. My main job with that is just to make sure the kid I’m paired up with has the most amazing day possible,” Lawless said.
Music therapy helped Lawless, and she wants to pursue it in college.
“I am planning to pursue a degree in music therapy with a minor in Spanish in college. I want to be able to help kids the same way that I was helped,” Lawless said.
Music therapy helped her cope and express herself during and after treatment.
“I think something that was really special about it was the songwriting helped me explain what I was going through even at an early age. It helped me make sense of my experiences especially as a seven-year-old who didn’t really understand what was going on. Working with the music therapists really sparked my love and curiosity of music,” Lawless said.
This will be Lydia Urice’s third year on ECHO staff. She made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year. She was Podcast Editor for her first year on staff, and Junior Editor her second year.