Battling a rare form of cancer known as rhabdomyosarcoma, 11-year-old Maya understandably felt upset and angry, and her peers and teachers could see it. Like Maya’s peers and teachers, the CISofHR Site Coordinator, Janae Boone, also noticed Maya’s anger and acting out.
To develop a relationship with Maya, CISofHR Site Coordinator Janae created an environment wherein Maya felt safe in expressing her wide ranging feelings. Gradually, Maya began to open up and shared her fears of her cancer spreading and pointed out her swollen lymph nodes as they grew on her body. Frequently reassuring Maya that cancer did not have to control her life, Janae encouraged Maya to stay positive. As their relationship grew, Maya excitedly shared that she had noticed her hair starting to grow back after chemotherapy! With the support and encouragement of her CISofHR Site Coordinator Janae, Maya made a conscious decision to remain positive. Maya’s optimistic outlook began to take shape, and she started smiling and laughing more. As a result, instead of being known for her anger, Maya now makes a positive impact on the people around her and is known as a sweet girl with an inspiring attitude.
Empathy and support in the face of adversity have transformative power. By simply listening to and encouraging Maya, CISofHR Site Coordinator Janae impacted Maya’s life beyond the textbook. Maya maintains a positive outlook despite her difficult circumstances. Maya has learned that opening up and sharing her fears and concerns with a confidante can provide a sense of comfort and hope. With that comfort and hope, Maya finds the strength to stay positive and not let cancer define her.
Instead of being a distraction to her peers and teachers in school and instead of being distracted herself by her fears, Maya’s improved demeanor and outlook allow her to continue to learn and grow like her peers.