Alyssa Paulikas #IotaSpotlight
This week's spotlight will be a little different. Living in a generation thriving on social media, it's easy to hide behind a polished presence. But as Alpha Delta Pi's, we hope to be catalysts for change. Our open motto, "We Live For Each Other," encompasses the bond shared between all of our sisters. We strive to present ourselves and our sisterhood for what it truly is. We can only hope that our efforts will expose our beloved sisterhood, presenting our chapter members as the authentic women that they are.
This week, Alyssa Paulikas takes the #IotaSpotlight. Not only is she a courageous woman, fighting a battle that no individual should ever have to face, but Alyssa was brave enough to share her story. Below, you can read her full testimony of her journey.
"My little brother Brandon had been getting sick frequently for a couple of weeks leading up to his diagnosis. One day, I got a text from my parents saying that they were taking him to the ER at Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital. I left Tallahassee immediately and drove home. As soon as I got there and saw my dad, I knew something was not right. He told me that the doctors thought Brandon had cancer. He was eventually diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia or ALL for short. My family’s world was flipped upside down and we all knew our lives would never be the same.
Brandon spent months in and out of the hospital, sometimes staying as long as 3-4 weeks at a time. On top of the extensive chemotherapy, Brandon had procedure after procedure, surgeries, chest tubes, and much more. This will continue until the summer of 2020, if there are no complications like the ones he has already had. The past year has been spent in a tiny hospital room, multiple drives to and from Tallahassee, and emergency trips to the ER.
We are finally at a good place in Brandon’s treatment. One year and one month later, he is finally back at school and adjusting to some normalcy, while continuing treatment.
Ronald McDonald House Charities is an extremely important organization to me because they have personally touched my family. On the hospital's pediatric cancer floor, there is a Ronald McDonald family room. This is a place that families with children on the floor can enjoy meals together, play video and board game together, or just simply hangout. I have seen hundreds of families benefit from this time in the Ronald McDonald family room in the hospital. It helped keep a sense of normalcy in my family’s lives when we were spending multiple days at the hospital. When Brandon was up for it during his treatment, we would play board games and eat dinner together in the family room and just enjoy each other’s company.
When we first found out about Brandon, I wanted to transfer schools to be closer to him and my family. Being away from my family is the hardest thing, especially now. If it wasn’t for ADPi and the relationships I have with my sisters, I don’t think staying here would be worth it. It was my ADPi sisters who have helped me realize how important it is for me to still have a life while all of this is going on. It was my ADPi sisters who helped me stay enrolled at Florida State. When the days are just too tough being away, I can always count on my best friends to hold me while I cry, take trips to get ice cream, to study, go to the movies or do anything else to distract me from the reality that my brother couldn’t have a normal life that first year of treatment. Everyone around the house always asks how he is doing and that the prayers never stop for him or my family. It always puts the biggest smile on my face. Cancer is an extremely hard battle and I’m so fortunate that my family has the support of my chapter. I would not be who I am today without these girls. My family and I will be forever thankful that I have an amazing support system at ADPi."