Sydney Becker's Journal
Written Dec 30, 2012 11:44amHi! First off, I hope everyone had a happy New Year. I haven't posted on here since before school started! Well, I am now a freshman in high school, and I like a lot. It's so different from middle school, and in my opinion, it's better than it too. But high school is a lot harder. I'm now starting to study for midterms, which I'm really scared for! My hair is getting really long now. In the beginning of November I decided to try a center part, instead of how it used to be, all the way to the left. I like it better like this, it's much easier to manage. When I changed my part, it really showed how long my hair actually was. It's probably getting close to six inches long now. I've added a new, recent photo of me to the "Photo" section of this site so you can see what I look like now. My hair is also changing a lot, it used to be very wavy, and a little bit blonde. Now, the blond waves are all at the bottom of my hair. At the top, my hair is straightening out, and the color is now brown, and it keeps getting darker and darker. I'm really curious as to what it will look like in a couple of months when it is longer. Ever since the summer, I have been able to notice that I'm getting stronger in my leg. I'm definitely more stable, and my muscles are building up. My left leg is still much thinner than my right, but I'm getting there. I think one of the things that helped me get stronger since school started was playing softball again. I played on my team again in the fall, and it went really well. My fielding was okay, and my hitting was almost back to normal. It was so much fun, I had a great time playing. As of now, I'm planning on playing for my school's freshman team. Hopefully it will work out, but if not I will be the team manager. But I'm going to try and play!This time of year is special for me because it is the time when two years ago, I was just diagnosed with cancer. On Thursday, it will be two years to the day that I was first brought to the hospital to begin my journey. Two years since I sat in an unfamiliar room with unfamiliar doctors, who told me that I had cancer. The same room that I would be wheeled in and out of nearly every day for ten months. The same doctors that would save my life. It is also an important time of year, because it is the time that we are getting pumped up for Cycle For Survival! This year will be my third year attending a Cycle event.If you don't already know, Cycle for Survival is an organization that raises money for rare cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the amazing hospital that I was treated at. There are so many types of rare cancers, all of which receive very little government funding for cure research. Cycle For Survival has been making a huge impact. We've raised almost $20 million since it first started in 2007. Every penny of that went directly to funding 53 clinical trials, which are helping save peoples' lives. It is so important that we raise money to help discover new cures. I am so lucky to have overcome cancer, but there are so many who are not as fortunate as I am. With the money that Cycle raises, we can help other people with cancer have success, just like I did.February 9th is going to be our second year riding as "Team Sydney" in Cycle For Survival. This year, we want to make a big impact! We want to be one of the top fundraising teams. It would mean so much to me if you could donate to my team. Any amount helps us get closer and closer to our goal, curing cancer once and for all. And to know that it came from Team Sydney would mean so much to me. If you can, click on this link and take two minutes to donate to Team Sydney:Unfortunately, I have to go back to school tomorrow, but look below for some jokes. I hope you all had a great holiday season, and a happy new year!
Love,SydneyPS: Why is your nose in the middle of your face?Because it's the scenter!PPS: What do you call somebody without a body or a nose?Nobody knows.
Written Sep 5, 2012 8:52amHi! I know it's been a really long time since I last updated, I've had a really busy summer. But, it was definitely a good one. Right after school ended, I left for sleep away camp for 7 weeks at Camp Chipinaw. This summer was my fifth year. After not being able to go last year, it was really great to be back at camp with all of my friends again. I had an amazing time there. Right after I got back from Chipinaw, I left to go to Camp Simcha. I went there last year too, for a week. It's a camp for Jewish kids that have/had cancer. I loved it last year, and I was really looking forward to going back. Although I only went for 5 days, it was still amazing. All of the people there are so nice, and everyone is always happy. There was hardly a dull moment during those five days. One of the best things that I did there was my last day, when they took us to a shooting range. It was something that I'd never done before, and cool to try. We made big signs that said "cancer" and all of the things we hated about it, and shot at them. There were a lot of holes in the posters by the time we were done.The day after I came home from Camp Simcha, I left for my Make A Wish trip to Hawaii! I was really looking forward to it, it has taken a long time to get it together. I had never been to Hawaii before and I've always really wanted to go there. It was a ten hour flight, but it wasn't too bad because the plane had movies, tv shows, and games on screens on the back of the seat in front of you. So it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The first island we went to was the big island, Hawai'i. We were there the night we landed, one full day, and left the next morning. Our full day, we took the scenic route to a waterfall. The drive was really pretty. On the way, we stopped at a smoothie place called What's Shakin. They grow their fruit right there, and just put it in the blender. It tasted really good. When we got to the waterfall, there was a path you could take to look at the rainforest before you got to the waterfall. It was beautiful. Hawaii has some really interesting plants. A lot of them didn't even look like plants! Later, we went to a macadamia nut factory. I discovered that I really like macadamia nuts. Then, we went to the Volcano National Park. Since we went after the sun set, we could see an orange glow coming from this giant crater in the ground. There is always smoke coming out of the crater, but at night you can see the orange glow of the lava. It was really cool and the crater was enormous.Our next island was Maui. I love the beach, so I was really excited. Our first day there, we just hung out at the beach and the pool. The hotel was really nice, there was a big waterfall and flamingos in the lobby. I love the beach where we stayed, the sand had a lot of different colored grains in it, and it was soft. And the ocean was amazing. The water was really clear, and it had a bunch of different shades of blue and turquoise. It was always the perfect temperature, too. Our hotel was right by Black Rock, which is this really big grouping of rocks that's great for snorkeling. It was only about a 5 minute walk along the path next to the beach. (At this time one year ago, I would never say the phrase "only a five minute walk".) The one day we went, there was a big sea turtle right in the water. It was only a few feet offshore. Literally, right in front of us. There were a lot of people crowding it, but not getting too close, because sometimes it would swim directly at you, which was scary. It was so cool though. After a while, we swam out to go snorkeling. You hardly had to swim at all before you saw the fish and the reefs, which was one of the things that I loved. I would look up, and realize we were still pretty close to the shore. We weren't using any flotation devices, and I'm not really the best swimmer, so my mom had to drag me back to the beach after I got too tired to swim anymore. I used to be a really good swimmer, but it's hard now with a weakened leg, and a weakened body overall. When we got back to the beach, there was a second turtle. The two turtles were swimming together. It was one of the most incredible things I've ever seen, especially since it was in their natural habitat, and just a few feet in front of me. We got a floating belt for me, and then went back out snorkeling again. That time was so much easier, and more enjoyable. There were a bunch of people jumping off of Black Rock, which was pretty high, at least 20 feet high. My mom and my sister wanted to do it, so I floated in the water while they stood at the top forever, trying to gather all of their courage. The rocks were slippery and hard to navigate, so I didn't even bother trying. Eventually, they jumped and we went back to the beach. One of the days, we went to a luau. It was so cool. Before it started, there were a bunch of people doing things like cracking open coconuts, making leis, and making flower pieces that go behind your ear. The food at the luau was interesting, but really good. And the show that they put on was really cool, too. One of my favorite parts of the trip was this one day, where we took the whole day and did the Road to Hana. It's this really long, windy, scenic drive to a town called Hana, and you can make a bunch of stops on the way, at waterfalls, lookout points, black sand beaches and other stuff. Without stopping, the drive would take an hour and a half, but since we stopped a lot, it took much longer. But it wasn't bad at all because we were always stopping at these amazing places. It is indescribable. No words that I can use will accurately describe the beauty of everything I saw that day. One of my favorite parts was a waterfall that we went to. It was about a 20 minute hike to get to the actual waterfall. There was a shallow part of a river you had to walk through to get to the waterfall. I wasn't going to do it, because the water was murky, and there were big and slippery rocks at the bottom. But we walked ridiculously slowly and I made it across. There was a big pool of fresh water, and a cave behind it. The water fell from the waterfall at the top of the cave. It was beautiful. We spent a while there. Another one of my favorite parts was a different park with a black sand beach and fresh water caves. The black sand beach was actually black pebbles until you got in the water. It was pretty, but the water was rough so I didn't go in. Then we went to the caves. I wasn't going to go in because it was hard to get in to and the water was freezing, but I decided to do it, purely for the fact that I could say that I swam in a cave while I was in Hawaii. So... I swam in a cave while I was in Hawaii! After a while it was so cold that the parts of my body that were submerged got numb, so I couldn't feel how cold it was. There was another tiny cave that was attached to it. I tried swimming into it, but I got scared and stopped. I was so numb that I wasn't even cold when I got out of the water. We did make it to Hana, but we didn't make it to this grouping of seven waterfalls past it. Which was fine by me, I'd seen a ton of waterfalls and I was really tired. But it was really fascinating, and one of the best things I've ever done. The whole vacation was the best one yet. I can't come up with words to explain it. I've added three pictures to the Photos section from the trip so you can see what I mean. If anyone from Make A Wish is reading this, thank you so much! Thank you for giving me this special opportunity and organizing my vacation for me. You do amazing things for kids like me.Today I got hearing aids. I got them because one of the types of chemo that I had gave me a lot of hearing loss. They're not too big, and they go behind and inside my ear, so they're really hard to see. It was becoming hard to hear and keep up with conversations and everyday situations, and I'm looking forward to wearing them, so I can hear well again.Tomorrow is my first day of high school, I'm excited, but nervous too. I hope everyone has a great school year!Love,
Written Jun 18, 2012 7:50pmHi everyone! I have one more very important message to share with you. As you may remember, I am a Junior Board member for Make Some Noise, a foundation that raises money for pediatric cancer research. We are currently running a campaign called "Chain of Hope". Some of my fellow junior board members made this video for the campaign. We're trying to get it to go viral, so check it out, it's really great! And if you can, please, buy a t-shirt, too, and then pass the video on! All proceeds go towards pediatric cancer research, so other kids don't have to go through what I went through.