Adriana's Story

“I was 17 years old when I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (A.L.L.). On December 1, 2014, I arrived early morning to my high school, St. Joseph’s College, for soccer tryouts. After running a few warm-up laps, I fell really short of breath. My mom was called and immediately rushed me to emergency at Toronto General Hospital. After running blood tests, the hematology team delivered the news. That afternoon, my family came to my side to learn what the next steps of treatment would be. I was admitted into Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and began one month of intense chemotherapy (part of my two year treatment program). Prior to my diagnosis, I was a very healthy and active young woman, which is why the diagnosis came as a shock to everyone, especially me. In the middle of my last phase of treatment, the maintenance phase, I was preparing to go back to school. I was accepted to George Brown College for Hotel Operations Management, a two-year diploma program. A Research Analyst at Princess Margaret, Seline, suggested that I apply for the Pink Pearl Scholarship. I had not heard of the Foundation, so I did some research and was astonished by the work they do. I submitted my application and was fortunate to be named a scholarship recipient in April 2016. It meant so much to have extra help financially. I used the funds to purchase my first year books and other materials needed. My parents have saved for my post-secondary education since the day I was born, but receiving this scholarship meant having some extra help to stand on my own financially once I graduate. Upon receiving the scholarship, Pink Pearl’s Founder, Elise, invited me to attend the organization’s spring overnight retreat. It was my first retreat with any organization through my cancer journey so I was a little nervous at first, but ultimately so happy I attended. I met many different women and learned a lot. Being able to open up in such a safe environment meant so much to me. I hadn’t realized how important it was to connect with other people going through similar circumstances. Although we share different cancers, we are still connected by one thing—our strength to fight. I am grateful for Pink Pearl and all that it provides. I look forward to connecting with more young women at future retreats.”
– Adriana Lombardo, Program Participant