My name is Kyle Festog, and I’m proud to introduce myself to the readers of UCF’s blog as one of UCF’s summer Interns! I just finished my first week here in the office, and prior to popular belief, the staff members aren’t that terrible! In all seriousness, just in the short week that I have been involved, I truly have been inspired by some of the staff here at UCF. I guess I’ll go ahead and give a little background on myself, why I’m here working at the Fund over enjoying my summer like a normal college student, and what I hope to achieve while I’m here.
I am currently a Sophomore Undergraduate student with a Major in History at THE Florida State University (Go ‘Noles). When not at school, I reside in Orlando, Florida. Yes, I live close to Disney World. Yes, I have been often. Yes, I am sick of it now. And No, I swear I’m not crazy for leaving Florida in the summer to come to Maryland. Now that all of the questions you just thought in your head have been answered, I can continue. I am currently a Brother of Kappa Sigma, involved with Student Government, Golf as frequently as possible, and play on various Intramural teams at FSU. In high school I played Lacrosse, and ran both Cross Country and Track. I even used to compete in various triathlons, duathalons, and bike races all over Florida, many of which because of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training.
As to how I got involved in that, and more so the reason why I’m here is my Mother’s fight with cancer. When I was eleven along with the birth of my younger brother, Joey, my mother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I had no idea then how much of a recurring theme the FIGHT with cancer would become in my life. After a few years, and some highs and lows, my mother beat it back into remission, and has since had no Lymphoma scares. After the bout with Lymphoma, as if I didn’t think my mom was tough enough, I was informed that she beat Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when she was 7 years old back in… well I won’t say the date for fear of my life, but the available technology for battling cancer was not nearly what it is today. I was told she wasn’t even supposed to have been able to have kids, let alone three. I was astounded. Then of course, just to keep me guessing she was thrown yet another cancer scare, but thank God, it was easily prevented through a few surgeries and the removal of her Gall Bladder, but who even uses that anyways?
I keep a good humor, and I joke about cancer because that is what my Mother does. She, above any other person has taught me that it is a positive mindset (or as the staff at UCF would call it a “half full” attitude) that is the best weapon to conquer any hurdle that life may throw at you. For her that’s cancer, but for me it could be something as insignificant as not winning a round of golf with my buddies.
I am here at the UCF because my mother, Holly McCann is Brian Satola, the Assistant Director’s sister, turning my time here into a family affair of sorts. But I am chiefly here to attempt and share that positive mindset, that same outlook which I believe can be a powerful weapon in the battle against cancer and to help the countless young adults affected by cancer each year in whatever way I can. Even if it is by stapling fliers.