Make it a Splendid Week: Strength

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May is National Teen Self-Esteem month. Each spring and fall, The Periwinkle Foundation is proud to host over 150 teenagers at Camp YOLO. Camp YOLO addresses the unique challenges faced by adolescents living with cancer, renal, cardiac or HIV-related illnesses. While most teens are worrying about acne, getting a ride to the mall or how many text messages they can send, teens with serious illnesses are confronting very real life issues and seemingly unending hospital routines. Let us stop and remember to love and support our young teens.


This is what strength looks like
My mom did drugs when I was little
Addicted, but functioning
It wasn’t an everyday thing
Just special and bad occasions
She thought I never paid attention
But deep down inside I knew
What it was
Never brought to her attention
So she didn’t know that I knew
But I felt like she knew
This is what strength looks like
Two years later I was diagnosed
With cancer
AML, to be exact
Trials and tribulations
I got through them
On my own and with help
Of family and friends
Almost a year later
God blessed me
With a transplant
Even though two of them
I still got
My transplant
Not to mention nine rounds of chemo
And ten bone marrow biopsies
I went through
Five and five
Five without anesthesia
Five with anesthesia
This is what strength looks like
Seeing my granny and aunt
Struggling for money
I’m helpless and heartbroken
Can’t do nothin’ about it
When they did nothin’ but raise me and help me
My whole life
They still manage to smile and get through
The day
Like nothin’ is wrong
On top of health issues

Written by: Imani

This entry is a part of our series “Make it a Splendid Week”! Follow along weekly to enjoy excerpts from The Splendid Review, an anthology of poems, short stories and autobiographies written by talented young writers engaged in the Periwinkle Arts In Medicine Program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.

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