CLEARFIELD — College student Samantha Wisor of Clearfield survived brain cancer as a teen and now wants to make a career of helping others.
Wisor, who just completed her junior year at Cedarville University, was only 13 years old when she was diagnosed with brain cancer.
She was having headaches, so her doctor had some X-rays and an MRI done on her and found a large brain tumor. Her doctor said it was a “miracle” she was able function normally. She had even played in a soccer game the day before.
She had surgery the next day and received treatments throughout her eighth-grade year.
When she was 16, she was informed she would need to have surgery again to remove the remaining pieces of the tumor and elected to have it done over fall break to minimize the amount of school she would miss.
She would only miss three days of school, but like many cancer survivors, her mental health suffered and she struggled with PTSD, anxiety and depression.
Because of her experience, Wisor said she now wants to make a career of helping struggling teens. She is majoring in social work with a minor in criminal justice and wants to help teenagers by working in the juvenile justice system.
“I feel like it allows me to relate a lot more with them,” Wisor said.
Wisor said she always knew she wanted to do something to help people and initially considered going into nursing but decided against it.
“I’ve spent enough time in hospitals, I don’t know if I want to work in one,” Wisor said.
So she decided to major in social work and believed she would work in a school. But during her freshman year in college, she got involved with jail ministries.
“That re-routed my entire path of where I wanted to go,” Wisor said.
And because of her own circumstances, she wants to advocate for better mental health care. She said there is still a lot of misunderstanding about mental health and mental health care, which keeps many people from seeking out treatment or asking for help.
This summer she is planning on going on a two-week mission trip to Hungary with Word of Life, which has a camp there. She will be helping to teach English to children and possibly working with Ukrainian refugees depending on the need when she gets there.
Wisor said she hasn’t decided yet where she wants to live after graduation and social work could take her anywhere. She said her parents, Sam and Karen Wisor, her brothers, Daniel Wisor and David Wisor, and her sister, Katelynn McAllister, all live in the Clearfield/Philipsburg area. Wisor said she would love to come back to Clearfield area, but she loves to travel and would also like to live in Montana or Michigan.