From death’s doorstep, Sequoia White battled back to become a Baylor Bear
“Doctors told my parents, ‘Bring your family. Say goodbye to her. She’s not going to make it through the night.'”
Not only did Sequoia White make it through that night — with her cancer in remission, she’s now thriving as a Baylor freshman.
It all started when Sequoia was in high school. In a very short period, she went from being an honors student and active volleyball player to fighting unexplained neck stiffness and feeling sleepy all the time. She was eventually diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s T-cell Lymphoma — and incredibly, things got worse from there. Sequoia had an allergic reaction to one of her medications and ended up with multi-system organ failure, eventually spending three months in intensive care. At the worst of it, doctors advised her parents to say goodbye.
Instead, she woke up the next day from a 30-day coma, and with help, has largely recovered. As she battled back, Sequoia’s mother helped her hold on to the possibility of her future by spending time researching colleges with her. “That really helped me to see that cancer wasn’t going to be my whole life,” Sequoia recalls. “The college search was a way of telling myself, ‘You’re going to have a different life past this. You’re going to get through it.'”
Sequoia knew she wanted to go to a Christian university and had already heard great things about Baylor. When researching with her mom, she was very impressed by the science programs offered as well as the opportunities for research and community involvement. “Something that really stood out to me was Baylor’s mission of educating students in a faith-based environment, allowing them to grow academically and spiritually,” she recalls.
This fall, Sequoia has still been returning home to San Antonio once a month for low-dose chemo and an immunity boosting treatment. She’s majoring in biology, as she’s had her sights set on medical school since before her diagnosis — although she does have a whole new perspective and drive following her ordeal. “I want to be able to help people like I’ve been helped,” she says.
“So far, my experience at Baylor has been amazing!” she says. “I’ve met so many people who I feel truly want to help me succeed, and I feel like I’ve really become a part of the community. When I’ve needed to go home, my professors have all been very helpful and supportive in making sure I can take that time to go and focus on my health. Overall, I feel like Baylor is a place where I can be open about who I am and what I’ve gone through, and I’ve only been met with acceptance and love!”
Sic ’em, Sequoia!