Cancer survivor makes full circle

May 20, 2011 8:17:25 PM PDT
We have a follow up story that's been 10 years in the making, catching up with a young woman who caught the hearts of so many.

It was fall of 2000 when we first did a story on then 12-year-old Shelby Robin. She was a cheerleader for the Branch Crossing Junior High football team.

Robin's story was and is one of strength, courage and maturity.

You see, her dream had always been to be a cheerleader. But in January 2000, that dream was threatened when she learned she had bone cancer in her leg.

Four months later, the night before the cheerleading squad was announced, Robin learned she would lose that leg from the knee down.

"I was just stunned. It just kinda hit me really hard," Robin said in 2000. "One tear, then I knew what I had to do and I told my parents from here on out, I'm going to be positive and I'm not going to look back."

After shedding that one tear, Robin had the surgery in May. Three days later, she was released from the hospital, and that fall, she had her prosthesis, her wig, cap and smith and was living her dream despite it all.

A year and a half later, Robin went on the trip with the Sunshine Kids to New Orleans Mardi Gras. She went as a senior Sunshine Kid to talk with the younger children suffering from cancer and try to help them get through it.

"Sometimes, we would just kinda congregate in one room, kinda have a little party within the Sunshine Kids, and we would just get to talking about everybody's situation, what everybody's gone through and stuff like that, just share and I think that helped everybody," Robin said.

Robin also took part in competitive cheerleading -- prosthesis and all. She's kept very busy and never looked back.

Now, it is 11 years after we first met robin. She's 23 years old, and she's back at MD Anderson Hospital -- as a nurse to children with cancer.

Robin graduated from the University of Texas as an oncology nurse and she knew there was only one place in the world she wanted to be.

"This was the only option for me," Robin now says. "I'm so passionate about it. I feel like I'm doing what I was meant to do, and going into something like oncology, where else is a better place to do it but MD Anderson?"

Robin is treating children on the very same floor she was on at age 12, and some of the children are even in the same room.

"There are certain rooms that stick out in my mind, where I was told about my amputation, or the room that I was diagnosed in, and they look the exact same so that's a little weird going into those rooms and sort of getting those flashbacks," she said.

Most of the children at MD Anderson are scared, but Robin brings them a unique and calming perspective.

"I don't hesitate to let them know I've been in your shoes of if they're going through something especially hard," she said. "I think sometimes you can get to the point where you're so deep in it that you don't really don't see the light at the end of the tunnel, so that's where I take my opportunity to let them know, hey I've been there and when I say I understand -- I understand and know that it's going to get better and life will get normal again; life will go on."

Life has gone on for Robin -- giving back, caring and healing. She was and is one very special young lady.

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