Have you ever had someone whose life seems to intersect with yours so often it seems impossible that you have never met? For me, that person is Cory.
My Name is Ben Grande and I am a childhood cancer survivor. Cory and I grew up in the same town, went to the same schools, and had many of the same teachers. I’ve known who Cory was for a long time. He had that kind of presence; and still does. When I was in 8th Grade, I was diagnosed with High Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. What I thought was a nasty winter cold, turned out to be cancer. I was thrust into a world of white rooms and sterile gloves. For three and a half years I was pumped full of toxic chemicals that were the color of kool-aid flavors. I lost my hair, received radiation, and became a diabetic. During this horrible period of my life, I met some of the most amazing people. The doctors, nurses, and support staff that worked with me were angels. I truly owe my life to them.
It turns out that Cory was also being treated by many of the same people I was dealing with. Cory was an inspiration for children with chronic illnesses. The fact that he was able to deal with his illness while still being an advocate is a testament to his will to help others. I can honestly say that Cory’s charity work and his Live to Give attitude had an impact on my treatment and my life. My junior year in high school I completed my last chemotherapy treatments. As I went back to normal life Cory fought on, for himself, and for other chronically ill children. Some people might have looked at Cory and seen a sick kid, I saw the living embodiment of Hope. Even during the hardest times, Cory had a smile on his face. I know this because whenever Cory’s name is mentioned, so is his smile.
Cory fought for us and I feel I owe it to him to continue his legacy. I will forever be grateful for the work he did as an advocate. For the rest of my life I will Live to Give back to the next ones in line and those who help them.