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Student who battled brain tumor aspires to help others
September 5, 2022
Jose Sánchez Paredes
Grade: 11 School: Washington Middle College HS District: Washington USD ACSA region: 3 Jose Sánchez Paredes’ cheerful disposition is contagious. And he’s done it all in the face of tremendous adversity. In the fall of 2020, Jose complained of headaches and blurry vision. After suffering for two months, Jose went to the hospital where doctors diagnosed him with germinoma, a rare brain tumor. He required surgery and chemotherapy with debilitating side effects. But he kept fighting, all while maintaining exemplary grades.
Now cancer-free and with a renewed outlook on life, Jose says he wants to help others by becoming a firefighter.
Can you share a little about what you’ve had to overcome? When I was in 10th grade, I started suffering from headaches. And I was thinking it was probably just from stress. My parents said the same thing that I was stressed from school. A month later, I had the same headache that lasted for a few days. I just ignored it and kept going. And then the third time when I had a really bad headache, I fell to the floor and was unconscious. I threw up. My vision started to be blurry. I couldn’t move. And I was thinking, “Am I gone? Am I still here in the world?” So, we went to the hospital. And that’s when we found out I had a brain tumor.
How have you persevered? When I first had chemotherapy, I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I just wanted to stay there and sleep all day. When I had homework, my professors told me I didn’t have to do all the work. I could just do some of it. They gave me the support I needed and I’m really thankful to my teachers.
How did all of this affect your emotional well-being? At first, I was feeling really sad. I couldn’t believe I was the one with the brain tumor. I felt hopeless.
Your next steps include pursuing a career as a firefighter. How did that come about? When I was little, I saw firetrucks going by in Mexico and I said, “That’s what I want to do.” I want to help people. Recently, I entered the Fire Youth Academy. And when I did everything, I knew I wanted to do this. I knew that this was for me.
What would your advice be to people who are battling cancer right now? Always think positive. This is not forever. This will pass. You have a lot of support from your family members and friends. They will help you out.
ACSA Region 3 ESS Jose Sánchez Paredes.
ACSA 2022 Region 3 ESS Jose Sánchez Paredes.