Olivia is a believer, warrior, trusted friend, athlete, sister, champion, student, soulmate, daughter and all-around lover of life, laughter, family and friends. At 16 years of age, she is blessed with incredible physical strength (stronger than all the boys in school until high school at least!), a crazy big brain and a killer smile. She has lived abroad and seen just enough of the wider world to want to travel for the rest of her life. Olivia loves gymnastics, skiing, diving and tubing with her twin brother, Luke, and little sister, Sophia. She also speaks French and has friends scattered around the world from her days studying at the International School of Brussels. Olivia draws everyone she meets closer together, and inspires trust and affection. In short, Olivia is a future [fill in the blank with something great] that can and will change our world for the better.
In February of this year Olivia was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma just below her right knee – an unlucky strike of lightning given only about US 450 kids and teens are diagnosed annually with it according to the American Cancer Society. Olivia has tackled treatment aggressively, with ten weeks of chemotherapy then limb-salvaging surgery replacing her right knee and a good bit of her tibia with (bionic, we’re told) metal, and is now in post-operative chemotherapy treatment. She is surrounded by family and friends every day and has the love and support of so many praying for her quick recovery and healing. She managed to get her drivers’ license before surgery, and practiced driving with her left foot . . . . Olivia is indomitable in spirit and cannot wait to start walking again. There is just too much to do. What Olivia will tell you is she is unlucky to have to fight this cancer, and we all must have COURAGE to change the state of the world in treating cancers that strike children. The chemotherapy treatment protocol Olivia is using is thirty years old, with not one novel compound approved for use in the United States for first line treatment in that time. Olivia has shown us the COURAGE it takes to fight this disease in her body, and asks that we all also have the COURAGE to help fight this and other pediatric cancers with the resources, ingenuity and commitment of talent necessary to discover cures.