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Emerson teen raises awareness of friend’s battle with cancer

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Natalie Lopec and Jaiden Mason share a smile in Central Park, New York City, in 2015. The photo is one of several on Lopac's gofundme page.

Nina O'Connell, Emerson Junior-Senior High School

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Jaiden Mason, a sophomore at Emerson Junior-Senior High School, is on a mission to help save her friend’s life. Her friend and neighbor, 14-year-old Natalie Lopac, has been fighting cancer for just about her entire life.

“I want to say that the next time you think your life is over when you get a bad grade on a test, or you have to go to the dentist every six months and that’s hard, maybe think about what kids like me are going through too and reflect on that in a good way,” Lopac said.

It doesn’t feel right to complain about anything because I know people fighting this disease are in a worse situation, and I should try to stay as positive as possible,”

— Jaiden Mason

Lopac is currently receiving chemotherapy at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, for tumors in her shoulder, back, leg and skull.

¨It doesn’t feel right to complain about anything because I know people fighting this disease are in a worse situation, and I should try to stay as positive as possible,¨ Mason said.

Mason is raising awareness for her friend’s GoFundMe page. The goal is to raise $75,000 for Lopac. So far, people donated about $50,000 to help pay for cancer treatments not covered by insurance.

“Please donate anything you can. My bills will be more expensive now that I have to travel back and forth to Cleveland,” said Lopac on the gofundme page.

Lopac’s older brother, Nick, created the GoFundMe. It states that Lopac was diagnosed with retinoblastoma at the young age of eight months. A surgery to save her young life left her blind in her right eye.

After this surgery, Lopac was cancer free until September 2013. That’s when doctors diagnosed Lopac with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Since then, she’s had various surgeries, treatments and clinical trials in New York City, Miami and now Cleveland to treat cancer cells in her knee, lung and brain.

“Just pain, and it’s sometimes hard to think about if you’ll ever get better, since the road has been so long. It’s all I really know how to live my life, since I’m so young,” Natalie said.

When Lopac feels up to it, she and her friends raise awareness of cancer and donate money to fight it. They’ve attended Relay for Life. Relay for Life is a walk that helps bring together cancer survivors and fighters while raising money for The American Cancer Society.

¨I have attended Relay for Life since I was eight months old. I recently spoke at the event last year, and I was very humbled to be a part of it,¨ Lopac said.

Lopac said she’s made many friends through the walk and her various hospital visits. She stays in touch with other teens battling cancer through the Internet. Lopac said it’s very comforting to have someone with the same disease to talk to about common obstacles and successes.

Through the Internet, Lopac got the attention of comedian and YouTube personality Colleen Ballinger. Lopac said that she’s met Ballinger twice and was featured on one of Ballinger’s live streams on YouTube. Ballinger has her own GoFundMe page for Cancer. It’s raised more than 40-thousand dollars for childhood cancer research.

“Though Natalie has dealt with cancer for over a year now her spirits remain high, sometimes higher than others around her,” states the gofundme page written by her older brother, Nick. “Playing with friends and living a normal lifestyle is still relatively the same, but her outlook on life and life around her is changed forever, and there are somethings cancer has stolen from her life completely.”

Read the original story here.

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Emerson teen raises awareness of friend’s battle with cancer