Student, cancer survivor, shares story at campus Mini-Relay-for-Life
Grant Strouse, a junior chemistry major at Waynesburg University, shared his story of cancer survival at the University’s annual mini-Relay-for-Life Sunday, April 27, 2014.
Strouse was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a blood cancer that attacks the lymph nodes, as a sophomore in March of 2013. He withdrew from classes for two semesters and underwent six rounds of chemotherapy during a 23-week span.
During that time, Strouse said he was encouraged by the Waynesburg University community.
“Shortly after I was diagnosed, I received multiple emails, texts and cards from friends and fellow students asking if there was any way that they could help,” Strouse said. “It made me feel like I was part of something bigger, part of a family here in Waynesburg.”
After a strenuous battle with many “bumps in the road,” Strouse was declared in remission August 15 of the same year. He is expected to graduate from Waynesburg University next December.
“When you’ve beaten cancer, graduating college doesn’t seem like that difficult of a task,” he said. “Being a cancer survivor isn’t just an achievement, but a mindset. We celebrate the many survivors of this horrible disease, we remember those who we have lost and we strive for the day when cancer is no more.”
At Relay, he spoke about the initial mourning process he underwent when he learned he had cancer.
“I experienced a complete flood of confusion, denial and anger,” he said. “Specifically, I was angry with God. I was at a point in my life where I thought that I had everything figured out. I was going to graduate on time and start my life.”
He told the crowd that his feelings of confusion and anger ceased when a close atheist friend began attending church to pray for Strouse’s recovery.
“Then the realization hit me. As Christians, we are called to deny ourselves, to lay down our bodies to be used for the furthering of His Kingdom, no matter the circumstances we are under, no matter where we are in our lives,” Strouse said.
He said that cancer taught him that when God is really all you have, He is all you need. Strouse believes that the Lord brought him through the worst time of his life, and promised others that God would do the same for them.
“As a cancer survivor, I have learned more about life and death than most 22 year olds should know; the glaring realization that we are not, in fact, invincible,” Strouse said. “I’ve also learned that strength and perseverance are not about how much you can lift or how far you can run, but it is a measure of your endurance, the ability to stare down a daunting task and overcome it.”
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