For Mary Anadolian, Christmas has always marked the beginning of a
new year in her life since it comes a day after her birthday.
But for the La Crescenta resident who was born in 1989, this
Christmas will be like no other. Mary is battling Hodgkin's disease.
Mary will undergo a fourth chemotherapy session Dec. 22, after
which doctors will be able to tell Mary and her family if the
treatments have done enough good so that treatment can be
Mary is positive she is going to win her battle against cancer,
but chemotherapy sessions leave her feeling too ill to be with
friends and family, so her birthday wish this Christmas is that she
is well enough to enjoy the company of others.
"I want to be able to see as many people as I can," said the Clark
Magnet High School sophomore. "I already have everything I want."
Cancer has changed the lives of Mary and her family, in more ways
than one. She is completing her classwork at home, away from her
friends at school. Her hair has fallen out, a side effect of the
treatments that are making her better. She has strengthened her
relationship with God, and sees her illness as a burden she must
carry to become a stronger person.
Her parents have suspended divorce proceedings, and have reunited
to take care of their daughter during her illness, something, says
the girl's mother, Osan, that has improved the couple's relationship.
And her brother Pierre has pitched in wherever he can, offering to
swap rooms with her so that she can have the biggest room in the
For the first time in years, everyone in the family took part in
putting up holiday decorations, something Mary and a cousin had taken
charge of in the past.
"It is strange, but this has brought the family closer together,"
said Osan Anadolian.
When she was diagnosed with the disease in August, no one expected
anything good to come of it, Mary said.
"Knowing you have the disease is the hardest thing to deal with,
that you are not like other kids your age. But God gives problems to
the people that can handle them. And I am already 10 times stronger,"
When asked what she wishes for this holiday season, Mary only
mentions her health after talking about seeing her friends and what
she hopes for others.
"I hope that other kids who have this worse than me get better. I
want to go back to school and be with my friends."
More long-term, she wishes for a future as a painter, a passion of
hers that is evident by the several oil paintings hanging on the
walls of her home.
One of those paintings is hers. Mary painted a small sunlit stream
meandering through a forest carpeted by colorful flowers. It is the
first painting she completed last year after taking a few art classes
"I love landscapes. That is all I want to paint," she said.