Embrace Life

Little girl splashing around in a swimming pool
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"Embrace Life" is the motto by which Claire Frenkel lives. It is a profound statement coming from a young woman. Claire is not only a former AdventHealth patient, she was also one of the first children to be treated at the AdventHealth Cancer Institute when it opened its doors in 1997. At the age of four, Claire was diagnosed with primitive undifferentiated sarcoma in her tonsils. The normal steps for chemotherapy were immediately taken. However, the cancer did not respond to the usual treatments. Claire's doctors quickly realized that they needed a new approach in order to save her life. They opted to use radiation, a treatment option that is traumatizing for an adult, let alone a four-year-old girl.

The hardest part was fitting in. I was losing my hair and a lot of weight. All I wanted to do at that age was go play with my friends. This was not easy for a pre-school kid, explained Claire. Cliff Selsky, MD, Claire's doctor at the AdventHealth Cancer Institute, is a trailblazer in the medical field. To this day, Claire credits him for saving her life and giving her a normal childhood, as well as a bright future. At the conclusion of kindergarten, Claire's treatments were finished and she went into remission. This was an extremely happy time for her and her family. They still express their appreciation to AdventHealth and are grateful to the doctors and staff who helped give their daughter life and surrounded them with comfort during one of the scariest times in their lives.

Claire has dedicated her life to giving back to her community. She lives every day to the fullest and has a wonderful outlook. Claire plans to attend the Adventist University of Health Sciences to study nursing and to pursue her dream of becoming a pediatric oncology nurse at AdventHealth so one day she can help children who are fighting the same battle she did many years ago.

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