Dominique Schell is a sarcoma survivor. In her TEDx talk, the 20 year old shares her personal experience of childhood cancer.
In this speech, she talks about how as a survivor she feels an obligation to advocate for all the children who die of sarcoma each year.
Schell was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at 10 years old, and in the 10 years following had many complications as the result of her initial surgery.
She had eight chemotherapy sessions each lasting a week, which she describes as hell. Her side effects included weight loss, cravings, exhaustion, vomiting and hair loss. She says was so sick that the doctors had to sedate her for up to three days in a row.
One procedure she needed was a 13-hour surgery moving one part of her left leg into her right leg. This lead to bones in her leg shattering three times which she describes as excruciating pain. To avoid breaking more bones she had to wear external contraptions drilled threw her bones. “The hardest part was the attention it drew – the fear and disgust it provoked in people,” she explains. “It was tough not letting people’s comments get to me.”
Dominique said instead of falling into a depression, she made a conscious decision to embrace the fact she was different. However, she explains that it wasn’t an epiphany but a gradual acceptance.
She started to talk at events and visit children’s cancer wards to offer hope to sarcoma patients. “I gave those kids hope that there is light and the end of the tunnel,” she explains. “My happiness is by no means limited by my health,” she continues.
Dominique says that one in two people survive sarcoma. She is the Founder of Crutch4Sarcoma.