Alexandra Varel

Alexandra Varel

Born: October, 1993

Alexandra Varel

  • Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
  • Year of Diagnosis: 2006
  • Diagnosis: Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma of the right femur

Some facts about my treatment:

I discovered I had Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma, after going to the hospital for an MRI (I had been experiencing pain in my knee) and fracturing my femur as I was entering the hospital. MFH is a rare type of bone cancer in children somewhat similar to Osteosarcoma and does not have a specific chemotherapy protocol I was put in traction and was given chemotherapy until my limb salvage surgery in April 2007. I continued chemo until November and have been cancer-free ever since

What I want people to know about me

I am a very friendly, independent person who loves life. I love listening to music, reading and writing in my room and talking to my friends. I swim and do archery as part of club and try to challenge myself in as many ways as I can. Having cancer has completely changed my life in so many positive ways. It has helped me especially to realize that I want to go into medicine.

My favourite day was

Every day I was at the hospital was amazing. The nurses helped my have a great time, they connect with me and made my stay absolutely fabulous. I was the kid who was always watching movies and creating origami cranes to decorate my room. I’d always be seen with a smile on my face, constantly laughing and making jokes with the doctors.

The worst thing about having cancer

Having pain is the worst things about having cancer. When still intractin, being administered a certain chemotherapy drug, high dose methotrexate, my leg (the fracture/tumour) would swell up and I would be in excruciating pain every time I moved. After my surgery, I have had to deal with chronic pain, immediately after my surgery until 2009, I had much nerve pain because of the extensive leg reconstruction surgery and the smaller surgeries before and afterward. I am able to deal with the pain better now, but it is still an issue even though I no longer have cancer.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be a doctor and medical researcher (developmental biology/pharmacology) when I grow up so that I can help discover better ways to treat cancer patients and hopefully contribute to an eventual cure for cancer.

My message to other kids undergoing treatment

Be courageous and hang in there! You’ll come out of this experience a stronger, more determined person, who will be ready to persevere through anything life throws at you! when life gives you lemons, make grape juice, then sit back and let the world wonder how you did it.

If you could have one superpower strength, what would it be?

To be able to fly. It would be an incredible feeling to be so high in the sky and see everything below me, as if I was on the wing of an airplane

If I had three wishes they would be…

Find a cure for every disease in the world, go scuba diving in Australia and meet Hugh Jackman

I’m involved with Coast to Coast because…

I want to stand up against childhood cancer and help represent the many children across Canada who have or have had cancer.

Our Featured Ambassador

This is Josh Nelson – a childhood cancer survivor. He knows about facing all the challenges of childhood cancer:

“I know first-hand how it feels to be a prisoner in the hospital and endure the surgeries and the endless needles and treatments. I know how it feels to lose my hair, throw up regularly and watch other kids around me earn their wings. I lost a part of my childhood that I will never get back. I know how it feels to look different and to be different. That’s something that I wouldn’t wish for any other kid to go through, and that is why I do what I do.”

Read more about Josh’s journey »

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