Positively Upstate: Student raising money to fight the same cancer she battled
An Albany High School student is on a mission to raise money to fight an aggressive form of cancer that almost took her life. 15-year-old Rylyn Swierzewski was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 7. A type of blood cancer that compromises the immune system, Rylyn was in treatment for two years.
“I didn’t really know it was a life-threatening disease.” She explains. “My parents never let me understand that reality. They wanted me to be happy. I was always smiling.”
Now a high school sophomore, Rylyn just celebrated 7 years cancer-free. Her illness in the rearview, she has never forgotten about the challenges and experiences stemming from this disease that shaped her life. She’s currently in the running for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year award. The 7-week competition (which concludes March 1st) is open to all students in Northeastern NY and Vermont who have been affected by blood cancer. This could be through a family member or they could be a cancer survivor themselves, like Rylyn.
Assistant Director of Communications for the City School District of Albany, Lisa Angerame says being a survivor sets Rylyn apart from the other contestants.
“Unlike many others going for Student of the Year, Rylyn has actually been there. She knows what it is like to have this terrible disease. And she’s out ther trying to educate people about it and raise money for it.” Angerame says.
Rylyn is sharing her story on her fundraising page where you can also vote her for Student of the Year : http://events.lls.org/uny/unysoy2018/rswierzews
She says she enjoys raising money for LLS because she knows first-hand what patients and their families go through when battling this disease.
“As much as I don’t want to be a nurse of doctor like most kids do after going through this experience. I always know that I’m going to try and donate and fund-raise for this cause because it affects so many people.” She says.