|A healthy outlook = the best medicine.|
|Description | About These Illnesses
David's "Will To Win" | Zach's "Close Call"
Transcript | Order Videotape
Being a teen is tough enough as it is...but imagine if you also had to deal with a serious illness? In this In the Mix episode, meet young people faced with the challenges of living with Asthma, Diabetes, Crohn's Disease, Sickle Cell Anemia, Hodgkin's Disease, Leukemia, and Ewing Sarcoma. [Facts about illnesses that affect teens] With insight and humor, these teens clear up common misconceptions about disease and share how their experiences have impacted their lives as well as those of their family and friends.
"My asthma started when I was sixteen, and controlling it has become an important part of my life," says David, 17, about living with the most common chronic illness facing young people today. Sixteen-year-old Melissa talks about the daily ups and downs of living with juvenile Diabetes, and her best friend Alex reflects on how Melissa's illness has helped her look at her own life differently. Says Melissa: "I just want people to treat me as a normal person, not as a person who has something wrong with them. Treat me like any other person but still realize that I do have diabetes and that sometimes I do need help."
When your disease involves issues that are uncomfortable to talk about, things get even harder. Zach, who's lived with the digestive disorder Crohn's Disease for several years, tells us how he's often embarrassed to discuss his illness...and how his friends helped him survive a near-death experience. "Being sick shows you who your true friends are," says Zach. Then: four teens take us on the emotional roller coaster that is life with Sickle Cell Anemia, which causes them to get sick often and is frequently triggered by stress. Fifteen-year-old Christopher sums up their struggles: "You have to be a teenager, but then you got to be a teenager with Sickle Cell, so thatís double the trouble."
Meet Ebony, Mike, and Elliot, who are living with different types of cancer: Hodgkin's Disease, Ewing Sarcoma, and Leukemia. "Itís a battle you know, youíre fighting for your life," Elliot tells us. These young people talk about how they offset the negatives of their sickness, which include painful chemotherapy and radiation treatment, with positives like friends, support groups, and a healthy outlook on the future. "If you have a negative attitude towards your sickness, it doesnít make life easier," says Ebony. "But if you have a positive attitude, you like to go out there and have fun and be a teenager, because it doesnít change you."
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Special Event Alert: October 9 - 11, 2004, help raise money for pediatric cancer research at "Alex's Lemonade Stands" at Volvo retailers across the U.S. For more information, visit www.volvoforlifeawards.com or www.alexslemonade.com.
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