Cole Schuhmann 2020
When I was 13 years old, I heard words that no child should ever hear, "You have cancer." I had T-Cell Lymphoma which is a blood cancer that strikes your white blood cells. They mutated then multiplied at a crazy fast rate and one day, my body didn't feel the same. Little did I know at that time that my life would be changed forever.
I missed most of my 8th grade year, instead spending 8 months under house arrest due to being very sick from chemotherapy and being too susceptible to disease. A normal human's white blood counts (the blood cells that fight infections) are about 4,000 - 10,000 at any given time -- I was always around the 1,000 - 2,000 range. During these 8 months, I attended numerous doctor's visits to go get spinal taps and felt absolutely terrible after each one. Basically the doctor has to stick a needle into your spine and then drain your brain fluid. I would always have intense headaches that had me lying down for weeks. I didn't have just one spinal tap, I had 19. My other chemotherapy medications especially drained me. I had headaches, constant vomiting, loss of appetite, severe mood swings, abrupt weight gain and weight loss. Overall, just not a fun time and I highly recommend not going through any of that.
It's been 8 years -- I am 21 now -- of remission and I'm doing better than I ever was. My high school Spirituality teacher asked me in class one day, "Cole, if you had a choice to have cancer again, would you?" I told her, "Yes." Despite being sick and having my life completely run by doctor's visits and my body's inability to do much, it's made me into a stronger and more extroverted person. Now I can make a difference in another child's life; so please join me in beating childhood cancer!
What it is...
RaiseRED is an 18-hour dance marathon and the largest student-run philanthropic organization at the University of Louisville. The event has a year-round focus that raises awareness and funding for the children, families, and doctors fighting pediatric cancer and blood disease at UofL. Last year, nearly 1,000 students raised over $682,000! We are aiming even higher in 2020 and working to raise even more! 100% of donations to raiseRED directly benefit the work of Dr. Ashok B. Raj, Chair of the Division of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology at UofL. In years past, raiseRED funding has supported social work services, helped research initiatives, and directly benefited patient needs.