The following is a short 366-word essay for a college scholarship I didn’t end up winning. I wrote this, which tells my unfaltering views on smoking cigarettes, partway through my cancer journey as a high school senior. My doctors have warned me never to go mountain climbing because my damaged lung function would fail me. Coupling that knowledge with my current cold symptoms which include difficulty inhaling a deep breath and the upper half of my body shaking violently to catapult mucus lodged in my chest multiple times per day (now’s the time to block out any mental pictures since my blog’s continued goal to speak the truth does not sugarcoat reality), not to mention my incessant loud coughing, I know I would be six feet under today if I ever chose to knowingly hurt myself more by lighting up. Remember: YOU and YOUR HEALTH are much more valuable than puffs. Also, give yourself credit: you CAN WIN your fight to discontinue the habit! God can give you all the strength you need.
Imagine waking up each morning and jumping off a cliff, taking no safety precautions. Each day the cliff gets a little higher and you land a little harder, until one day you jump from such a high altitude and receive such horrific injuries that your life is forever impaired. Ridiculous, right? Not if you’re a smoker. Every day, smokers light up cigarettes, damaging their bodies a little more each day, until finally they realize that permanent damage has been done and there is no turning back. I have always felt that cigarettes are harmful and unattractive, and have never been tempted to put rolled up tobacco between my lips and puff.
Myself. My healthy lungs. My white teeth. My ability to function. My quest for good health and staying active. My responsibility to be a positive example to my peers. My bone marrow transplant. All of these factors deter me from cigarettes. Having been diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia at age 13 and having relapsed twice, I have never had the desire to have cancer for the fourth time in my life. I choose not to jeopardize my health from the hazardous habit of smoking and put my body at risk for serious illnesses such as emphysema, heart disease, and mouth, throat, or lung cancer. To me, there are no benefits to smoking cigarettes — only negative consequences. For these reasons I am strongly committed to stay away from smoking.
Because I support a healthy lifestyle, I am able to participate in numerous school and outside activities that do not accommodate lighting up. Throughout high school, I have played basketball, soccer, and also enjoy rollerblading to stay healthy. Leading an active lifestyle has enabled my body to heal faster when subjected to the ravages of chemotherapy. Had I been a smoker, my chemotherapy treatments would have made me more susceptible to certain types of cancers; I also would never have had the stamina to be a strong competitor in sports. As an executive board member of National Honor Society, I choose to spend my time serving at soup kitchens rather than inhaling cigarette smoke. Instead of choosing to smoke, I choose to stay active and live!