Student Highlight: Chun Lee

chun-play-nowHow do you measure the size of a heart?  It’s hard to.

“My neurologist, he said, before the surgery, it was two tennis balls,” Denver Online High School Junior, Chun Lee, said.

But a brain tumor?  That’s a little easier.

Plagued by olfactory hallucinations that made him detect smells that weren’t actually there, Lee admitted.

“I didn’t think anything of it, but then I collapsed,” in a grand mal seizure.

“We went to the ER.  They did the MRI and it revealed a tumor in there,” he said.

“When they took the tumor to the lab, it turned out to be a grade three one,” the most malignant type.

“I didn’t know my son would have brain cancer,” his mom, Wen Ying, said.  “I feel very sad because this tumor is cancer. So it’s not curable.  So I don’t know how long he can survive for.”

But his heart to keep fighting shows his strength.

“When I’m lying down on the table to receive the radiation treatment, they put it on me, and then it keeps my head in place so the radiation doesn’t go everywhere,” Lee said while showing off his radiation mask formed specifically for his head.

When asked how he remains so positive and committed to flourishing in school amidst this trying time, he said, “You just have to find your motivation.  Mine is to help my mom so she can retire.  To help with the bills or something so she can retire.”

As Chun’s condition worsened and medical bills rose, his brother also moved from Taiwan on a Student Visa in order to help the family.

Keeping roughly a  4.3 GPA since coming to Denver Online, even brain surgery couldn’t keep him from succeeding, proudly wearing the Denver Broncos beanie to hospital visits that Denver Online provided in a care package following his surgery.

“I want to be a radiologist technician,” Lee said.  “Originally it was just a spur of the moment thing that was easy.  Not necessarily easy, but a quick certification so I could start working a stable job quickly and help my mother.  Now after I’ve had, I guess it’s a twist of fate, after I had the treatment, and I remember when I was getting my radiation mask made, I was quite scared.  Going in there I was scared, but talking to the radiologist, the technician, she just reassured me.  I remember a load that just kind of disappeared from me.  So I want to help people like that too if I can.”

Because at the end of the day, measuring the size of a heart can only be determined by the impact you leave on others.  And for Chun, his impact is far greater than any tumor could ever be.