Anya Shah, leukemia survivor
When Anya Shah was 8 years old she loved gymnastics and hoped to someday be president of the United States.
Then she got leukemia. She remembers the day she was diagnosed, and her parents' reaction: “We were all crying and that was actually the worst day of all.”
But Anya isn't one to cry for long. She's a fighter, determined to live her life to the fullest. “Fight on,” she says. “Cancer is not the end of the world and it shouldn’t be stopping you from anything. Reach for the stars.”
Which is exactly what she did.
Even when she was being treated at City of Hope and was too sick to go to gymnastics class, her coaches would come to her house to train her. She leaned on her parents, her siblings and friends for support. “I don’t know how to thank them,” she says. And she praises the “amazing” doctors, nurses and staff at City of Hope who were with her every step of the way.
Now, four years later, Anya is in remission and determined to set an example. She rode City of Hope's float in the 2016 Tournament of Roses Parade. She looks forward to helping other patients, finding ways to brighten their day and distract them from their worries.
And she still takes gymnastics, though her White House ambitions have taken a bit of a detour.
“Before I had cancer I wanted to be president, but after going through all of this, my priorities have changed. I realized that I want to treat other kids with cancer and become a pediatric oncologist.”
Fight on, Anya!