Ask Sydney

Students walking for Relay for Life

A classmate of mine is not graduating this year. I would like to share you her story, which she included in a student-wide email. The next email after her story is about what Randolph-Macon College plans to do to help Sydney and people like her.

Here is Sydney!

“My name is Sydney, and you may have been wondering what exactly you were supposed to “Ask” me. Well, here is my story, so you can form the right questions.

In June of 2008 I had a simple surgery performed in order to remove a mysterious bump in my hand. All 3 of the medical professionals I had consulted thought it was a harmless ganglion cyst. After the surgery, the surgeon told me that he didn’t know what “it” was. Not only had the surgeon never seen anything like it, but neither had any of the pathologists in Austin, TX (my hometown). The “cyst”, that was later learned was actually a tumor, was sent to Massachusetts General, where it was diagnosed as a Rhabdomyosarcoma.

Rhadomyosarcoma is a rare pediatric cancer of the muscle cells most commonly found in the lungs. Sarcomas make up 1% of all cancers diagnosed, and there are fewer than 400 cases of rhadomysarcoma around the world a year. So instead of planning a fantastic junior year of college with my best friends at Randolph-Macon, I was trying to figure out how to save my life. Unfortunately, these plans included dropping out of school, and moving to Houston, Tx. for two years. I no longer had to worry about when my next test was or when my next paper was due, but rather trying to have a life to get to live.

Luckily my story has a happy ending. After 2 impromptu surgeries, 3 emergency stays in the ER, losing my hair twice, 15 rounds of chemotherapy, and 30 radiation treatments I have won my battle against cancer. Sadly not everyone who fights this battle has the same outcome.

Foundations such as the American Cancer Society have donated and supported cancer patients like myself. Without all of the time and effort the professionals as well as people who participate in events, like Relay for Life, have given, you may never had the opportunity to ask me… Please support Relay for Life and raise money to help find a cure for cancer.

We are not victims, we are survivors.

We will not die from cancer, we will live with it.

Thank you in advance,


Here is Sydney at the 2010 Relay for Life


The Kappa Alpha Order [Zeta Chapter] provided refreshments at the 2010 Relay for Life

Good Morning Randolph-Macon College,

I know you have all had your various questions throughout the week: “Who is Sydney?” “Is that OUR Sydney?” “What are we supposed to ‘Ask’ her?” And that was exactly the point… to make you ask questions. The bright neon signs caught your attention, and the lack of detail kept it. Now we are filling in the blanks. We can answer your questions, so PLEASE ask them. We are Relay for Life of Randolph-Macon.

Today the Relay for Life Committee members are wearing World Hope shirts and/or buttons encouraging you to “ASK SYDNEY” or “Ask me about Relay”. We know Sydney. We know her story. BUT we also know Relay; something Sydney was a active participant in long before her diagnosis. We each Relay for many different reasons. Some of us have lost parents to cancer, others have watched our friends fight this horrible disease. And so we Relay.

On April 30th, 2011, Randolph Macon will host its 3rd Annual Relay for Life event. There will be food, entertainment, friends, and fun to be had by everyone. It is all in order to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Money that will go towards providing care for patients, and towards research for, what any cancer survivor or fighter will tell you they want most in the world, a cure.

Join a Team today! Or create your own team!

Be a part of something that has changed so may lives. Sydney was one of us. She was a student at Randolph-Macon who would have been graduating along side of many of us in May. And now she is a survivor, before that, a fighter. She beat the odds and is living and breathing today because of the medical advances made possible because of volunteers and donations to ACS.

Find your own reason to Relay and let’s make cancer a thing of the past.

2010 Luminaria at the Relay for Life. Highly emotional for all of the student body with Sydney present. Around the Fountain on campus.

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2 thoughts on “Ask Sydney

  1. This is so sweet. What a moving moment for your campus. I haven't done a Relay for Life since 2008…. This might be just the push I needed…

  2. What a touching story. I'm so glad that Randolph Macon is joining in the Relay for Life. It was one of the schools I considered years ago and it always struck me as a lovely place.

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