If there was ever a student to embody the phrase “...ever to conquer, never to yield,” it would be Hailey White.
A freshman this year at Auburn, White has done nothing short of making this her own personal fight song.
As a freshman at Brentwood High School in Brentwood Tennessee, White went through the most difficult time of her life. White was diagnosed with a form of cancer known as Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Without warning, White had no choice but to fight back.
White explained how she felt during the diagnosis and when she first found out.
“I never actually knew it was cancer when I was getting diagnosed.” She explained how the doctor never actually used the word cancer, but simply referred to her disease as Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. White said she didn’t actually realize it was cancer until she was checked into the hospital.
For 9 months, White went through chemotherapy alternating between IV infusions and pills. She then had to do radiation every day for five months.
When asked what the most difficult part of her experience was, White said, “Watching my family deal with it because they didn’t have the same peace about the whole experience as I did.”
The most amazing part of this whole story, however, is how strong White stayed in her faith even through these trying times. “I had no other choice but to give it all to God,” exclaimed White during the interview. “The whole experience was completely in God’s hands.”
“I count cancer as a blessing. People think I’m crazy when I say that, but without it I wouldn’t have the closeness that I have with God.”
Besides her obvious support from her faith, White also had a great support team from those around her. “The amount of peace and love I felt is impossible to describe,” White said with a smile.
“Everyone in the Brentwood community rallied around me and was a huge support. I was diagnosed on a Wednesday night, and that night my youth group prayed over me for a solid two hours,” White said.
Recently, White had the opportunity to witness exactly what the Make-A-Wish Foundation can do. Since 1980, Make-A-Wish has been granting wishes to children with life-threatening diseases. Make-A-Wish contacted White during her time fighting cancer and told her to wish for anything she wanted.
Her wish? To attend the 2012 London Olympics. And sure enough Make-A-Wish made it happen.
“I cannot explain to you the amount of love and respect I have for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.” White explained to me how at this point she didn’t feel like she deserved her wish. “I had been granted life, and that’s all I really could ever wish for,” White said.
While she may not have thought she deserved it, everyone that knew her thought differently and convinced her to go.
Four years later, White is cancer free and living each day truly as if it was her last. Her strength should be an example to everyone fighting hard times. I asked if she had any advice for someone in the midst of fighting cancer, to which she responded, “Invest wholeheartedly into everything you do throughout the experience because you never know who’s life you are touching.”
Upon ending the interview, I asked White if she could, would she rewind and not have this experience. White responded, “the experience was life changing, definitely trying, but it made me who I am today and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
I’ve known Hailey White for 4 years and was with her during her fight with cancer. Her story inspired me to write, and I hope it passes on her strength to many others.
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