My name is Sidara Akalloo and I am 13 years old and I am the Race Ambassador for the RBC Race for the Kids and a Cancer Survivor
It was the renowned physicist Sir Isaac Newton who postulated, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia approximately 28 months ago at the age of ten and I have been standing on the shoulders of giants, in particular, my blue giant: the RBC Caribbean Children’s Cancer Fund.
Many of you would have gotten to know my name and story. Everyone knows that I have faced many challenges in my treatment and have been able to overcome them all. I have buried friends, counselled newly diagnosed children and achieved academically all by standing on the shoulder of giants which include my family, my medical team and the RBC Caribbean Children’s Cancer Fund. I am now a full-fledged secondary school student at Naparima Girls High School. I passed for this school in the midst of excruciating pain from pancreatitis.
I have now decided on my career goal. I want to be a Pediatric Oncologist. I have now dedicated my life to prove that my disease is not my destination. Most of my brothers and sisters in my cancer ward are younger than me and I know they are looking to me with a tune of expectation in their hearts. We have renewed hope that we can achieve anything despite our diagnosis. With the RBC Caribbean Children’s Cancer Fund, our dark outlook at diagnosis is now one of hope.
Also, to many citizens the RBC Caribbean Children’s Fund and by extension, the Race for the Kids is just a race but in reality it has brought great awareness to the issue of childhood cancer. I am the only cancer patient at my school. Many are still not aware that children get cancer or that it is even treated here. However, this has changed through the awareness that this effort has created.
It is important that all families in our twin island state participate in this race on Sunday 15th October, 2023, because every single child with cancer is a hero and deserves a fighting chance. Our families depend on it. Participation in this race allows our families one thing less to worry about and the opportunity to better concentrate on our treatment itself.
This year is special to me. The 10-year-old who was diagnosed is now 13 and is ending treatment in two months. My end of treatment is exactly six days after the race. My Ambassadorship with RBC and the RBC Caribbean’s Children Cancer Fund has been memorable and exciting. It has allowed me to see my role in the bigger workings of things and to gain strength and hope in my darkest moments. The children with cancer in the Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago deserve a fighting chance and I wish to thank RBC for being one of the giants whose shoulders we can stand on as we look with renewed faith and hope to a brighter future filled with endless possibilities.