'We chose to have a positive mindset’: Local teen beats cancer, dreams of becoming a doctor

SAN ANTONIO – Sequoia White was once a 16-year-old spiking the ball on the volleyball court, but when she started to get too tired, she knew something wasn’t right.

“I was feeling for days and weeks that I was really tired, like I was sick. I got tested for strep, mono and the flu and everything like that. It wasn’t any of those. I continued to feel worse and worse," White said. "My mom took me to the ER to see what was wrong, and they did an ultrasound of my neck because my lymph nodes were really swollen. The ER doctor came into our room, and she was crying and said, 'You need to go to this oncologist. I think you have cancer.'”

White said she was in shock. One day, she was playing volleyball, and the next thing she knew, she was having a port installed to begin chemotherapy to fight stage 4 cancer.

Things got worse when she had an allergic reaction to chemotherapy. Doctors put her in a medically induced coma, but White’s organs were failing. They told her parents to prepare for the worst.

After 39 days, White woke up.

“I think (my parents) were just overjoyed,” White said. “They were so happy I was awake. They couldn’t believe it. Even the doctors were so shocked. They’d never seen anything like that before.”

White continued to fight and has been cancer-free for a year. She and her mother, Naomi, credit their faith for getting them through a difficult time.

“We chose to have a positive mindset,” Naomi White said. “We chose to believe in that. We chose to have faith. We chose to be happy. We chose to be thankful.”

White said her faith led her to Baylor University in Waco, where she is a freshman biology major. White is pre-med and hopes to one day become a surgical oncologist.

Our thanks to Erin Heft at KXXV in Waco for her help in bringing you Sequoia’s story. To read that story, click here.

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