Usually when people take on projects like this, the incident has happened to them personally, to some sort of family member, or close friend, before any action is taken. I didn’t have that when this project began.
I walked into the College of Nursing and met a person named John O’Leary who was the Resolutions Chair of the Student Nurses’ Association at the University of Central Florida. My only reason to meet him was to talk a bit about joining a committee for SNA and turning in my dues. I was an incoming nursing student who just got accepted into UCF’s program and had no idea what I was stepping into, but wanted to try something new. I told a little bit about my background to John and asked me to stay for the resolution meeting. Honestly, I didn’t even know what a resolution was. John gave me the opportunity to create one and see where I could go from there. I had nothing to do, it was a free summer, so why not.
Before meeting John, I was spending my time with a young man I met that year. I learned a lot about him, and he became someone very dear to me, a best friend in an instant. I learned a lot about enjoying life and everything around me through him, how to smile, but I also learned that he was in AirForce ROTC to soon be commissioned as a flight nurse. He was going to help save and heal those while protecting us here in this nation. He left for field training and I was to not contact him except through letters. Just then and there I saw how much he was working to give back, and I asked myself, what could I do? He’s there working to save lives, to bring smiles to faces, especially mine, so what could do? I realized, I had a resolution laid before me, a blank piece of paper that could become something big, not for me, but for those around me. The opportunity was before me to be that lending hand. Additionally, I always had a saying in the back of head, and it’s a verse by Jason Mraz:
I say the tragedy is how you’re going to spend the rest of your nights with the light on.
So shine the light on all of your friends.
Everyone around us has a life, and is living that one life, so why not make theirs brighter? If you find someone in need, in help, like the Nike slogan, just do it. This resolution was my way of lending my hand because, why not? Us humans live our lives trying to keep our own light on, but for me, I find my light shining when I’m able to share to those who need the light, even if they don’t know it.
Ovarian cancer, as I was doing research, was a topic that needed to be openly discussed more. Not enough people have knowledge of the symptoms, not enough are being informed. Ovarian cancer can’t be detected through a Pap smear or test. The only thing you can do is to know the symptoms. Too many women bypass them before its too late. The resolution to help spread this awareness in Florida passed recently, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago I learned that my cousin was experiencing the symptoms, such as bloating, polyuria, painful menstruation, and before she knew it, she was finding herself on the surgical bed, having her ovaries with cyst about the size of a small melon removed. It is lucky she was able to catch it in time, but now she’s unable to have children. I think in my head, maybe if I told her the symptoms sooner, this could’ve been caught earlier. Many women, like I do, wish to have a family, to have kids, to be mothers, and to have that taken away from them is tragic. NOW, I have no reason to not continue with this campaign, to prevent this from happening from everyone else.
My Philosophy professor at UCF once said having beauty, materials, money, isn’t power, but knowledge is. I want to give that knowledge, the power for women to save themselves, to live a better life. As nurses, our role is to educate, and I feel this is my duty as an aspiring nurse. Through this project, I hope to be able to shine that light on others, to save, and to be that lending hand, because well...why not?
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By knowing the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, not only are we giving ourselves the knowledge of this deadly condition but we are giving other women the power to save their own life and a life of another.
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