Zach Elliott (20 y/o) // Shriner’s Hospital & Children’s Cancer Center volunteer // snowboarder, boxer, wakeboarder, runner, biker // survivor of osteogenic sarcoma
(bone cancer, diagnosed 9 y/o)
“When we had recess, I would go play kickball with all the kids on crutches with one leg. I kind of took what I was given, and I used it for what I thought I was given it for. I realized what life could actually take from you. But at the same time, I stayed strong. I never had a negative attitude about anything. Anything someone tells me I can’t do, I’m going to try to do it. I’ve met a lot of paraplegics like that. Most of the paraplegics I’ve met are veteran based … I have an American flag on my prosthetic leg right now. I think I would probably be in the military if I didn’t have this.
“When I first was diagnosed, they gave me a 20 – 30% chance of living. My biopsy came back 97% gone. I became cancer-free at 11.
“When I was younger, I had a clue what was going on. But at the time, I didn’t really know about cancer; I hadn’t really been presented that aspect of life. We got different opinions, and my parents really took the choice for me as far as what they thought would be best … I thank God every day that’s what they chose, because if they didn’t give me a prosthetic leg, I would live with a metal rod in my leg and have a limp for the rest of my life.
“If you look at it, you’re only given one chance. One opportunity. You’re given what you’ve got. You can’t dread upon it. If you do, what’s the point? If you’ve gone through all that, there’s a reason for you to be here. It’s something God had planned. There’s something out there for you to have — something meant for you.”