Battling osteosarcoma as a teenage boy for over nine months impacted Chase Meacham's entire life from the point of diagnosis on. Amidst the 35 rounds of chemotherapy, the 140 days in the hospital and a limb-satvation operation where doctors removed the tumor from his left knee and replaced a large portion 01 his leg with a titanium prosthetic, Chase discovered the experience didn't have to be all negative and used it as an opportunity to took on the brighter side of things.
Although Chase was no longer able to attend school like his friends, his teachers were understanding, cooperative and willing to provide the extra help he needed. Chase not only passed, he received a 4.0 his first quarter of high school. A huge accomplishment!
His stellar grades were just the beginning of Chase's good news.
"I realized what 1 wanted to do most in the world was to one day return; return to this life as a pediatric oncologist."
On November 30, 2006 at 11:30 pm, a nurse walked into Chase's room and announced his joumey with cancer was over. He could go home. For good. But as he left the hospital that night, after tears of joy and embraces of love, Chase knew he wasn't really leaving forever. "I realized what I wanted to do most in the world was to one day return; return to this life as a pediatric oncologist," said Chase.
And, the good news just kept getting better. By early December, for the first time in ten months. Chase was able to walk again on his own.
"I emerged from the darkness and the blackness and, to my great surprise, found a world that was a thousand times sweeter than the one I had left that short time ago." said Chase. "For the first time in my life I was able to treasure each day - it was as though a curtain had been drawn back, revealing to me the world in all its beauty. I could see things now; I could see just how wonderful it was to be able to walk, unbound by (wheel) chair or walker or crutches or cane. I could see just how fantastically delicious my food was, and remember back to the times when it was too painful to eat. I could see how great it was to be among friends, and remember those days when they were not allowed to visit. Because of cancer I could see the world, and I loved what I saw."
While he successfully fought the illness, Chase never really walked away from cancer. He continues to fight on behalf of childhood cancer patients everywhere, speaking at numerous special events. His advocacy work culminated when he spoke alongside Congresswoman Deborah Pryce on Capitol Hill in support of the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act which was signed into law two years later.
Chase walked the halls of the same hospital he was treated in, just as he predicted, becoming a lab assistant during the summer of 2007. This experience led him to follow in the footsteps of the doctors who helped him on his road to recovery.
"Because of cancer I could see the world, and I loved what I saw."
In the fall of 2009 Chase had a reoccurrence with his cancer, which was cleared with a small surgery. Not even this set-back stopped Chase from moving forward with his life and the fight against childhood cancer. Chase applied for the 2010 Beyond the Cure scholarship and was one of 22 recipients awarded that summer.
Chase was named the 2010 Laura W. Bush Top Scholar by the NCCS, for truly embodying the spirit of the award. Chase went on to speak at the NCCS humanitarian dinner held in October and brought the room to tears. Chase has grown from a fourteen year-old boy who didn't have a care in the world to the outstanding young man who lives life to the fullest, cherishing the beauty of every moment. "It was not until I got better that I really understood just how unbelievably fortunate I was to have had cancer."
*All quotes are excerpted from Chase's 2010 Beyond the Cure scholarship essay.