When it comes to battling cancer: She rocks!
Teen finds comfort in music as she fights against Ewing Sarcoma
Tori Pence has loved music since she was 7 years old when her grandfather gifted her with her first guitar. But it wasn’t until she was admitted to Cook Children’s that her passion for music flourished.
In October of 2012, at the age of 16, Tori was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma stage four cancer in her left pelvic bone. From the beginning of her journey with cancer, the Mansfield, Texas native decided that her only option was to keep moving forward. Amidst the confusion of being diagnosed with cancer and admitted to Cook Children’s as a teenager, Tori found comfort when her father told her about the newly opened Child Life Zone Music and Recording Studio.
“If I had to be anywhere, I’m glad it was here. They do a really good job at trying to make a children’s hospital more accommodating to young adults. It’s awkward being in the middle of a child and a young adult but Cook Children’s made me feel like I didn’t have to sit in my room and go through this journey by myself.”
Tori received chemotherapy and received medication for her treatment every other week, 3 to 5 days for the span of about a year. Halfway through her treatment, she also received radiation on her left pelvic bone for about two months.
Karen Albritton, M.D., a Cook Children’s pediatric hematology-oncology doctor and medical director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Program, oversaw Tori’s cancer treatment. Artee Gandhi, M.D., medical director of Pain Management, helped Tori with any discomfort or pain she felt during her treatment.
As her time continued at Cook Children’s, Tori spent many hours in the Child Life Zone Music and Recording Studio, pursuing her passion for music. “The music studio is great, even for kids that don’t have life threatening illnesses, it’s just a good way to go in there and have fun.”
Tori recently turned 19 years old and has been in remission for two years. “My life is all about music. It has always been something that has gotten me through the good times and bad.” She continues to pursue her passion for music by performing for various charities. Tori has even gotten the incredible opportunity to meet some of her favorite artists, including Joan Jett, Miley Cyrus, Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who, and Garth Brooks. She hopes to one day meet Stevie Nicks.
Through her battle with cancer, Tori learned the importance of living each day to the fullest. “I encourage people to keep moving forward and live your life the way you want it, because you don’t have all the time in the world. Don’t wait to do something you want to do, make it happen.”
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