Introducing Lieutenant Harper

Recently, I had the pleasure and honor of watching my daughter Crystal graduate from Officer Training School for the United States Air Force. It was such a proud moment, but it did not come easy. My daughter had to go through a lot to get here and her struggles are not over yet.

Blood cancer interrupts her life

Crystal entered the Air Force when she was just 18. After 4 years she decided to change to the reserves so she could look into other opportunities. Crystal, not only was an Air Force reservist, but she also had an exciting TV job as a meteorologist, a new home in a beautiful part of the country, and was starting to make friends when her life was interrupted by cancer. When she turned 25 she was diagnosed with Hodkin’s lymphoma.

Deciding to return home for care

She made a difficult decision to come home and get care. This decision meant she would leave everything behind and have to start over when she was done with her treatments.

Luckily Crystal was cured of cancer. This past November was Crystal’s 5-year anniversary!! That alone was a cause for celebration.

Fullfilling dreams

But the best news she got was being told she was accepted into Officer Training School. This was something she had wanted for a long time. Part of the reason it took so long was the fact that she got blood cancer. Cancer has a way of putting your life on hold and that happened to her for a bit. Luckily, Crystal is strong and determined and, through a lot of hard work, she was able to fulfill her dream of becoming an officer.

Crystal left this past January and trained for 2 months at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery Alabama. She cried on the way there - happy tears to finally get to do something she had wanted and worked toward for so long. Crystal graduated March 10th - she is now Second Lieutenant Harper and I couldn’t be prouder!

Crystal's next goal is to become a Hurricane Hunter. Soon she will have to take a physical and pass it as the next step in becoming part of the Hurricane Hunters team. I look forward to the next chapter of her life, although I am scared about her flying into hurricanes and storms!

Cancer takes away your chosen life

Cancer crippled Crystal for a bit and made achieving some of her goals harder to attain. I’m sure she is not alone in this. Cancer has side effects - many are related to treatment, but some affect us emotionally and physically. It can change many things about your world and take away some of the power you have to live the life you want.

It sucks in many ways - really sucks, but there are also positive ways to look at it. Having cancer has helped Crystal to be more resourceful and although she had to work hard at attaining her goal of becoming an officer, she was successful.

I guess the lesson here is, that cancer may change a few things about your life, but keep fighting for those things you want to accomplish. The result will make it all worth it! Congratulations Lieutenant Crystal Harper. I know many more wonderful things will be coming your way!

Wishing you health and happiness!

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