Beating the odds


After all Elizabeth Allen has gone through, it's remarkable she is graduating on time with her class at King Philip Regional High School.

Elizabeth, 18, the daughter of Grace and Greg Allen of Norfolk, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in sixth grade that required surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

She missed some school in sixth grade at Freeman-Centennial School and seventh grade at King Philip Middle School but stayed on track with her class with extra help.

During her high school junior year last spring, a complication from the radiation ago led to some bleeding in her brain, and she had to undergo more brain surgery.

"She came through that with flying colors," Grace Allen said, adding her daughter is in remission. "She struggled. She lost some hearing, she has some vision problems, her sense of balance was damaged a little. On the whole, she has done wonderful."

Those limitations haven't held Elizabeth back. She ran cross-country all four of her high school years and this year ran spring track. Elizabeth also is a soccer referee for the Lions travel soccer and at Fore Kicks sports complex in Norfolk.

President of the National Honor Society at school, she kept busy organizing events. Elizabeth has been a peer mentor and a member of the symphony band.

Elizabeth has also been active with two fundraisers, as a sophomore and junior with the Children's Cancer Research Foundation's CureSearch, and this year with the NHS, raising money for Make A Wish, the organization that grants wishes to seriously ill children.

But, Elizabeth required some tutoring last spring.

"My teachers have been really supportive," Elizabeth said. "My friends have always been there for me. Everyone has been really helpful."

Elizabeth will attend Brandeis University, majoring in biochemistry or neuroscience. "I just enjoy learning how life works. I think that probably is because of my experience with cancer," she said.

- Stephen Peterson

Christine Bork
Email Christine
(800) 458-6223

Childhood Cancer

Medical Information


Coping with Cancer

Get Involved

About Us