LIVESTRONG Leaders are individuals that make a yearly significant commitment to those in their community affected by cancer by spreading the message of LIVESTRONG. They do this by fundraising, hosting events, bringing LIVESTRONG resources to their local hospitals and more. One of our amazing leaders from Minnesota, Colton Skaug, talks about why he is involved with LIVESTRONG and what he is doing in his community.
What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?
When I see those illuminating, bold, yellow letters it brings about deep feeling and emotion from within. For myself, LIVESTRONG represents a positive outlook on life as a survivor who defeated cancer. It represents a universal symbol that 28 million can all relate to in a strong sense. These words signify determination and dedication to make an impact and difference with the worldwide battle against cancer. It has taught me not to sweat the small things, and enjoy everyday to the fullest. To me LIVESTRONG was part of the light at the end of a dark tunnel.
Why are you a Leader?
My life was changed at 15 years old when I was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia. It was something I was definitely not prepared for, and a big test early in my life. Thankfully with the strong support of family and friends as well as my faith, I am proud to call myself a survivor. Cancer was by far the worst thing to happen to me, but at the same time it brought about many positives in my life as well. I wanted to find a way to use my first-hand experience as a patient to help benefit others with their experiences. The LIVESTRONG brand has been a symbol of hope, as well as a structure I have begun to build my life around. There is nothing quite like volunteering your services to ultimately chance someone’s life, and nothing could be more rewarding. This is my first year as a leader and I am so blessed to become part of this thriving foundation.
What are you doing in your community?
As this is my first year as being a leader, I am still becoming familiar with what characterizes a LIVESTRONG Leader. I am currently about to start my senior year at my college in Duluth, MN which is a huge time commitment in itself. I have not yet done any large-scale fundraising events thus far, but I have participated in some small-scale things that I found very special. I currently, and for the past year, have volunteered at the local Hospital’s Cancer Center servicing infusion patients, and spreading the word about LIVESTRONG and the services they provide. I have also personally met other patients in my life that I have provided them with a yellow wristband or some LIVESTRONG apparel. I am also currently doing a summer research internship at the amazing Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah. My goal in life is to become a Pediatric Oncologist and posses a special insight when relating to patients, as well as being an inspiration to others. I am very grateful for the opportunities I have had thus far to make a difference in the lives of individuals being tested by this disease. LIVESTRONG has been, and will be in the future, a great opportunity to network and expand my efforts to make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer. I am looking forward to become involved in my community, and discover what defines me as a LIVESTRONG Leader.