Sometimes what appears to be your greatest setback is part of the journey to your greatest victory. Just ask teenage cancer survivor Sana Moezzi.
When Moezzi was a senior at Carlsbad High School, she was a talented violinist.
As a soloist performing with the San Diego Symphony she performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall two years in a row. She also ran two clubs on her high school campus, had an after-school job and dreamed of auditioning for a music conservatory.
Moezzi said everything changed when she discovered a lump on her right shoulder.
"And to see that bump and have myself go look in the mirror, I was in complete shock and I had no clue what it was, what it could be,” she said.
Her concerned parents took her to the hospital that night. Doctors ran tests and a biopsy. What came next would change the trajectory of Moezzi’s future in a way she never expected.
Moezzi had cancer. It was Stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
"I was speechless,” she said. “I didn't have anything to say.”
Moezzi braved grueling months of chemo and radiation. She lost her hair but gained a new perspective on life.
"Be happy for everything that you have at the moment and just take life day by day and to just be thankful that you're even able to live to see another day," she said.
Throughout her journey, she said she never lost her bubbly and positive outlook.
Moezzi found encouragement to keep fighting when the San Diego arm of the non-profit Make-A-Wish made on of her dreams come true.
"It was it was so exciting. I was really excited," she said.
Moezzi was gifted an all-expense-paid trip with family and friends to the Coachella music festival. Her wish included VIP access and spending money.
“They went above and beyond,” she said. “And the fact that an organization can make a child so happy and just so hopeful is one of the most inspiring things I've ever seen.”
It was so inspiring that now, two years later, the cancer is gone and Moezzi is paying it forward.
“As soon as I turned 18 I submitted all my wish granting applications to become a volunteer for Make-a-Wish.”
Moezzi is now Make-a-Wish San Diego's youngest wish granter.
She is going to college at The University of San Diego where she founded a wish-granting club that is now more than 100 members strong.
In November, 2018, Moezzi helped another child’s wish come true with this “Carnival for a Cause.”
Moezzi said her experience with cancer has enabled her to relate to other sick children in a special way.
“Everybody hears the word cancer and knows it’s something bad, something terrible, but to have to actually experience it yourself is a whole different level. It's a whole different world" Moezzi said.
Cancer cost Moezzi her dream of pursuing her passion for the violin. Pain and fatigue now make it difficult for her to play, but Moezzi said she's grateful for what she wnt through
She says her greatest setback helped prepare her for her greatest mission: "To give that wish kid not only a sense of hope, but a sense of joy that everything will be OK in the end no matter what the circumstances are," she said.
On February 24, Moezzi will celebrate two years cancer free.
For information about becoming a wish granter with M-A-W San Diego and how you can get involved, click here