SJC Student Survives Cancer; Finds Purpose in Life


Courtesy of Savannah Andrews

Savannah Andrews (left) smiles as she poses with one of the nurses who cared for her during her battle with NHL.

Cancer. The word automatically conjures up thoughts of death. When the chance for survival is 55 percent, the future can appear rather hopeless.

Such was the case for San Jacinto College Medical Assisting student Savannah Andrews when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) during her senior year at Crosby High School

“I’m not supposed to be here today,” she says. “God left me here for a reason.”

Andrews claims she initially wanted to be a medical examiner adding, “I’ve always found autopsies so fascinating.”

Though content with her current choices, medical assisting was not her original career plan. Andrews’ life took a sharp turn after she was diagnosed with NHL.

“After I got sick, I changed my mind completely,” Andrews says.

Although faced with a life-threatening illness, she also realized she found a purpose.

“I chose medical assisting so I could give young kids hope,” she adds. “I want to work at Texas Children’s (Hospital) or MD Anderson (Hospital) so I can help those kids, make them smile, and just give them something to believe in.”

Andrews says her journey changed her life, but she chose to remain upbeat rather than become negative and angry.

“When you’re given an amount of time to live, you open your eyes and look at life differently. I had to stay positive, not only for those around me but for myself,” she says.

According to Andrews, her strong faith and the support of family and friends helped her make it through the difficult ordeal.

“I wake up every day, thankful for life and love,” she says.

Meanwhile, she encourages anyone going through a tough time to battle on through the days “where you just want to give up.”

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have,” she adds.

Although in remission, Andrews chose not to grow her hair back, partly to send a message but primarily for the opportunity to share her story.

“I keep it shaved so people will ask me why,” Andrews says. “I love to tell my story. Giving people hope makes me happy.”