Reflecting on One Retinoblastoma World
Sunday October 29, 2017
Washington D.C. hosted the 4th One Rb World meeting on October 9 – 11, 2017, including the first US National Family & Survivor Day. WE C Hope USA President, Marissa Gonzalez, reflects on her experience planning and hosting the event, and what the One Rb World community means to her.
Thank you to the World Eye Cancer Hope team from around the world, and especially the USA branch for your tireless work helping make this conference a success. Thank you to Dr. Jesse L. Berry for organizing a fantastic roster of medical professionals from across the globe. Thank you to our fearless leader Abby White for all you do each and every day for children around the world with retinoblastoma.
I feel immense pride for raising over $5,000 to produce the first-ever Family and Survivor Day in the USA. Watching our guests meet and form life-long bonds was heartwarming. Knowing that it was the first time for many young adult survivors to be face to face with another survivor was incredible.
Watching their parents befriend other parents, survivors and doctors was amazing – knowing they are getting connected to the RB community was tremendous.
My mom never knew another RB parent, I never knew another kid with cancer. To watch (and be part of) the giant leaps forward happening now through the efforts of so many people brings me tears of relief. Being able to experience these connections with my own mother was probably the best part of the week. Knowing how far our community has come since the 1980’s is awesome.
I didn’t choose to have cancer for ten years – I didn’t choose to have cancer at all. I didn’t choose to lose an eye; I didn’t choose to have half of my face and eye socket reconstructed multiple times because of cancer. But I do choose to not sit idly by and let others figure out how to help. I choose to take those challenges and do something that changes the experience for myself and for other people.