Small but Strong: Hopkinton teen battles cancer for third time


HOPKINTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Alex Wilson has battled more in her 16 years on this earth than most people can imagine, but, through it all, she’s maintained an incredible faith and outlook on life.  

In a post to Instagram, Alex Wilson wrote, “There are four words that are helping me through my tough times: Thy will be done. I believe those four words are going to help me accept the fact that I’m going through my third cancer; that I’m not only going to be a 2x cancer survivor, but a 3x cancer survivor.”

Alex said she felt empowered to post, hoping just maybe by sharing the most vulnerable part of her, people would understand. She says that post got nearly 140 comments and 526 likes.

A third battle with cancer may have stripped her of her hair, her school life, and her social life, but not her determination to fight.

“I’m going to embrace the natural beauty that God has given me,” she continued in the post. “That scar and burn on my neck isn’t ugly because it tells a story.”

After 12 years of being in remission, Alex thought she was in the clear.  Then, a lump in her neck shattered that feeling of safety, but anger is an emotion she refuses to let in.

“I feel like being angry distracts everything, you’re unmotivated,” she said.  “There are so many things I could be doing, but if I’m angry, I’m not doing it.”  

Her biggest motivator may be her goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist.”I know how it feels,” she said, “and a lot of oncologists don’t go through that.”

More information from the American Cancer Society: 

Ewing Sarcoma
* Neuroblastoma
Monoclonal antibodies

Having battled Neuroblastoma at three years old, then diagnosed with a completely different cancer at age 7, Ewing Sarcoma, Alex has a gift – empathy – to offer her future patients.

“I can bring a lot to the table working with kids and knowing what might be the best for them,” Alex said.

This time around the cancer is Neuroblastoma again, but stage one.

“The treatments are working because the tumor has gotten smaller,” Alex said.

Alex is also receiving an antibody treatment this time, which she said, aims to prevent the cancer from ever coming back. She’s confident she’ll kick this cancer to the curb, just as she’s done in the past, and her confidence shows on social media in the pictures of the true beauty she’s come to embrace.

“It makes me feel more confident when I post without a hat on, with no makeup,” Alex said.

She says staying strong is the most important thing, as she looks to the future.

“I know there’s a lot of other strong cancer patients at Hasbro, maybe stronger than me, maybe less strong than me,” Alex said. “But I hope one day I can help them.”  

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