Christina-before-and-after

Active high-school senior Christina Soriero kept up with the dance team, made straight As and loved to socialize with friends. But after months of a persistent cough, her world changed. First diagnosed with bronchitis and later pneumonia, Christina’s doctor recommended a CT scan and her life forever changed when it revealed stage 3 lymphoma.

“I knew I had five seconds in this moment. Five seconds to decide whether I was going to make the best of this situation, or be devastated,” Christina said. “So I looked up at everyone waiting for me to react, and I go, ‘We are going to fight this!’ That’s been my whole mindset on everything; I want to be the most positive about it.”

Christina and her family entrusted the team of doctors at Golisano’s Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida with her medical care. The hematology and oncology program at the hospital sees an average of 400 outpatient visits a month, with a recovery rate above the national average.

For any high schooler, losing their hair can be a sobering, scary part of cancer treatment, but not for Christina. She took what could be a sad moment and turned it into a party. She invited family and friends to come over to her house, and they each took turns shaving off her blue hair before the chemotherapy could take that moment away from them.

“Look, just shave it,” Christina said. “It’s going to come out anyway, so it might as well come out on our terms, not on cancer’s terms, and not chemo’s. We are in control of this situation, not cancer. That was something I could control, and something I wanted to be able to do.”

Many months later, Christina finished her treatments and has been declared cancer-free. Now, she has big plans for her future that include attending college and eventually working with children with cancer. Christina was touched by those who cared for her during the scariest moments of her life, and it has molded her into the person she wants to become.

“I would not want to go anywhere else for treatment,” said Christina. “Everyone here has been so amazing! The nurses are so sweet and a lot of the time I can joke around with them.”

The professional, experienced team at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida understands the need to stay positive each day – a cancer diagnosis can be devastating for the whole family. That’s why the care team offers an array of supportive resources, such as a child psychologist, who can explore the implications of that diagnosis – psychologically, emotionally, and beyond.

Because of generous donations to Barbara’s Friends during its annual Clips for Cancer fundraiser, these services are offered free of charge to those who need them most, keeping families supported, united and close to home.

Tune in for the month of September as Christina takes a razor to the head of the following Clips for Cancer supporters:

  • Rob DiLallo, Chief of the Lehigh Acres Fire Department – Friday, September 11
  • Rachel Toa, Golisano Children’s Hospital oncology nurse – Friday, September 25

Show your support for children who are courageously battling childhood cancer by donating to Barbara’s Friends at https://justgiving.com/campaign/clips2020.