A photo went viral early this month showing a girl wearing surgical mask and her school uniform, hunched over her calculator and reviewer, her left hand tied to a chemotherapy machine.
There was no stopping Jasmine Aspiras, 19, a management accounting student of UST, who was studying for an upcoming exam. Not even cancer.
She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, described as a type of cancer that begins from the “early version of white blood cells in the bone marrow.”
Aspiras has found a lot of support since she began sharing her struggle online.
“A lot of people were sending me messages, telling me that they were praying for me and stuff. It was really overwhelming but it’s nice to see I have inspired people in some way,” she told the Varsitarian.
Upon her doctor’s advice, Aspiras skipped a semester and hardly left home other than for chemotherapy sessions.
“I recall finishing the first semester last year na nag-struggle na talaga akong gumalaw because of body pains,” she said.
Badly wanting to finish her degree, she returned to school last July, but with certain limitations such as fewer subjects and activities.
“I easily get tired. There were times I need to leave early or absent myself from classes to go to the hospital,” she said.
Beatrix Te, her colleague at the college paper where she is a senior layout artist, is a witness to her hard work as determination.
“The thing about her that I find so inspiring is how thoughtful she is to others even though she also is experiencing pain,” Te said.
For Aspiras, it’s all about trying to live a normal life even if the struggle is real.
“We, cancer patients, are still normal people, even with our masks, our wigs, or our beanies,” she said.