Aliyah's Story

“I am a mother to a beautiful little girl, a wife to my high-school sweetheart, a sister, daughter and best friend to many. I am someone who will not let cancer define me but will define what it means to have cancer at the age of 28. I will not let people judge me by the diagnosis I carry, saying “she looks good for having cancer” or “she is so active for being sick ” instead I want to shock people and let them know I’ve never looked better and cancer can be this pretty despite all the ugliness that comes with it. I love the beach, sun and sexy swimsuits, pizza is my life! I love to travel and experience new foods and cultures with my family, love the adrenaline of being in unfamiliar places and finding unexpected hidden gems. I love fashion and decor and enjoy glamorous things. I enjoy spending time with my two favourite people, Nazalia and Nazeem, whether it be walking the mall with a coffee or going somewhere new to eat, these are the simple life pleasures I enjoy the most and won’t let cancer rob them from me.

My biggest fear is being nothing more then a memory to my daughter when she looks at a old family photo. My biggest fear is that cancer will rob me of the most precious years of life of my daughter or me not being there when she is becoming an adult and needs motherly advice, my fear is not living long enough to age where she doesn’t need me anymore, however I’m not sure what that age would be as I’m 33 and still need my mom everyday. My fear was that cancer would rob me of these things I love, leaving me with a future full of emptiness and a sadness that I could not overcome. 

My future is brighter, my time will not be wasted with meaningless people or meaningless actions. The things I love doing and the people I love will be priority. I have learned that I’m stronger then I could ever imagine and day by day, breath by breath I’m learning how to conquer my fears.  My future is knowing that there are going to be days I can’t sleep, there’s going to be nights I can’t stop crying , New worries of every lump and pain I feel in my body but that’s ok because there will also be times where I laugh so hard , places I will go that I would have never seen if it weren’t for these life lessons. The hardest thing about my future would be letting go of the life I had planned and accepting the one that is present and easiest thing about my future is I will be living my best life and looking for rainbows, even in the storms.”
– Aliyah Rafman, Program Participant