Tala had Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma (brain tumor) when she was 6-years-old, and her wish came true at 8-years-old to go to the Florida Theme Parks. Her soon-to-be best friend, Anna, had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when she was 12-years-old and would have her wish to New York City come true in May of 2011. This connection would become the building blocks for their everlasting friendship.
In 2009, Tala and Anna first met when they started high school together at Archbishop Chapelle in New Orleans, LA. One day, Anna was sitting in the courtyard with some friends and Tala walked up to Anna to talk to her. Tala told Anna, "I know someone else who has cancer," to which Anna questioned, "Who?", as Anna was still going through chemotherapy treatment at the time. Tala then explained that she herself was a cancer survivor.
Throughout high school, Tala and Anna were in many of their classes together, and teachers would continuously mix the two of them up with one another. At times, even their fellow classmates would ask if they were twins. Tala and Anna participated in many school and non-related activities together. These activities included holding fundraisers for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, attending Prom of Champions, cooking dinner for the cancer patients at the Patrick F. Taylor Hope Lodge, and being on the Ambassador team at their high school.
The duo graduated from high school in 2014 and are now juniors in college. Tala is a double major in Biology (Pre-Med) and Computer Information Systems at Loyola University New Orleans. Anna is a Sociology major with a concentration in Social Work at Nicholls State University. Even though they go to two different colleges, Tala and Anna still make time to see each other as often as possible; two of their favorite things are going out to get Mexican food and going to the movies! Now that they are no longer teenagers, they volunteer at Prom of Champions instead of attending, where, this past year, they worked the candy bar. They are also Wish Ambassadors for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Tala and Anna have a bond that none of their other friends could possibly begin to understand. Cancer may have been a hardship in their lives, but it also brought them together. Both of their future goals are aligned with helping other kids who are battling cancer. Tala is studying to be a Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist and Anna is studying to be a Social Worker for kids with cancer. Tala and Anna have helped each other out in dealing with the lifelong side effects from their respective cancer treatments.
They will be friends forever because of this bond they share. "Friends don't let friends fight cancer alone."