In July 2016, I was diagnosed with stage II Hodgkin's lymphoma. At the time, I was a 20-year-old international college student from Cairo, Egypt and just trying to get the experience of studying abroad was really hard for me. When you hear the word cancer, your world stops.
I was determined that my cancer diagnosis would not change how I planned my life to be. On July 28, I started losing my hair, and my confidence. I went back to the United States in August to continue my studies, and I planned to finish up chemotherapy and the school year. By September, I was a fulltime student, with three jobs, and I did my chemotherapy on Fridays.
I joined Light the Night in September 2014 for a family friend who survived leukemia, and in September 2016, I had my very own team, "Wassila's Tumornators". It was sad to see my lantern turn from a red to a white at first, but I looked around at everyone who was there to support me and that just made me smile from ear or ear.
On November 11, I was officially cancer free, I just couldn't believe it. It did not hit me until the following Friday passed and I didn’t have to do my usual chemotherapy. My experience with cancer taught me to love myself — not for my long locks of hair, but for how determined and strong I am, and how much support I have from family and friends. I would like to thank all my supervisors, co-workers, family, and friends for everything they’ve done for me.