Dare to Dream Big!
Jameisha Brown has a warm smile, but never underestimate her - she is a tenacious fighter.
When only eight years old, Brown was diagnosed with stage three Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She was not expected to live beyond elementary school. Despite the shock of the diagnosis, she had the care and optimism to win her battle with cancer and came away from the experience feeling that nothing was too great a challenge.
Being a part of Children's Art Project (CAP), helped her thrive. "It was one of a very few moments that I could think about other things. I remember when my first design was published in a children's book in 1999, it was a butterfly. The butterfly didn't have much meaning to me then, but as I grew older I realized I was painting my future. My metamorphosis from cancer patient to cancer survivor!"
Not only did the experience make her the bold, ambitious adult she is, it helped launch her own life’s mission. Brown recalls holding a crying baby who was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a cancerous tumor that affects the eye. The tiny child could not be comforted - not because the baby wanted attention or food but because of its relentless suffering. "I looked into her eyes and was speechless," said Brown. "I could only imagine the pain she was feeling. Ever since that moment I could no longer feel sorry for myself. I encountered a countless number of terminally ill patients. I knew I had to do something to fight."
As the president and health fair coordinator of the UH Collegiate Cancer Council, Brown has worked tirelessly and thoughtfully to improve lives. Her leadership led the organization to win multiple awards including “Organization of the Year” at the 27th Annual Campus Leadership Reception.
Brown credits multiple faculty members that have made a significant impact on her life. She is thankful for their support and encouragement of her many health endeavors in the UH community and the guidance that has facilitated her professional growth. "Often times, during what was intended to be a brief office visit led to an hour-long conversation with snacks and coffee," said Brown. "I am quite sure those professional relationships will continue to blossom beyond graduation."
After graduation, she will pursue an advanced degree to further her capacity to promote health. She hopes to eliminate health disparities by serving communities with disproportionately low access to essential resources. She is also interested in behavioral health research. With the knowledge acquired from her education and extracurricular involvement at UH, Brown plans to transform public health through education, advocacy and the prevention of disease, one community at a time.
Her advice to her fellow students mirrors her life lessons. "Never allow the challenges you may face in life to restrict your potential of living a full and bright future, said Brown. "Dare to dream big, and be relentless in your pursuit of making those dreams a reality."
To learn more about Brown’s journey, read an essay she wrote in high school about her experiences battling cancer with the MD Anderson Cancer Center.