Interview by Zoe D’Angelo | Submitted by Kailyn Swenson Nomination & Photography on the right by Valerie Ott Michigan
The Nomination: "Every year we do a large fundraiser with our model team. We let the girls choose the organization that receives the proceeds from our fundraiser. While we were having our meeting, Kailyn quietly and confidently raised her hand and suggested an organization that helped her and her family while she was going through radiation treatments for cancer. All the girls on the model team immediately thought it was a great idea and jumped on board. That says a lot. It says that Kailyn had to fight a huge battle and wants to acknowledge those who helped her. It says that Kailyn is a survivor. It says that Kailyn is a leader, whether she knows it or not. Our fundraiser is not just about giving back to the community, although that is a huge part. It is also about teaching our model team to feel beautiful on the inside. Kailyn struggled through a difficult time but came through with such beauty and grace that I am inspired by her.”
Her Story: The biggest supporter who helped me during the tough times was my mom for sure. She was so supportive and never let me give up. She was my rock and I could not thank her enough. God also had a huge impact on me, since my cancer was so rare, and my tumor was so big (18cm 4 pounds hanging off my liver)! Lastly, my friend Sydney as she stayed by my side through everything and showed me unconditional love and showed me how a real friend should be. She helped me stay strong as she had so much faith in me.
On my own time, I love dancing as I get to leave the real world and all my problems and dance away. Another thing I enjoy doing is volunteering at Cancer Families United which is an organization in my community that helps families who are going through cancer. Lastly, I love shopping, going to the beach, and hanging out with friends. I just really enjoy my life as I almost died so it makes me look at everything in a different perspective that not a lot of teenagers can.
Being on the bee squad has taught me that no matter what, you are beautiful in the inside and outside. I am a little self-conscious about my scars and Valerie has helped me realize that they show me how tough I am and special I am. I am so thankful I was able to join because we help the community and we also help build each other up.
I'm excited about working in the Pediatric Oncology field to help kids who were in my situation get better. I am also excited about showing positivity even through the hardest times in life.