As a 2-year-old, Megan Murphy had little knowledge of what her parents endured when she was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, the most common form of malignant soft tissue tumor.
But her family's experience more than 10 years ago has inspired Megan to one day become a pediatric oncologist.
"Ever since I've had my cancer, I've pretty much known that's what I wanted to be," said Megan, who was treated at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta.
Today, the 13-year-old is leading her peers in academics.
Called one of Columbia County's "brightest stars" by Grovetown Middle School Principal Carolyn Fries, Megan was recently invited to participate in the Duke University Talent Identification Program.
A rising eighth-grader at Grovetown Middle, Megan was recommended for the program by her teachers. To be nominated, she had to demonstrate academic achievement and had to take the ACT with area juniors and seniors.
"Megan met all of the requirements, and when the score results were received, she performed at the grand level," Fries said. "This is an incredible achievement. She was the only seventh-grader in Columbia County to reach this achievement."
Diana Hess, the guidance counselor at Grovetown Middle, said Megan scored in the top 93 percent of students throughout the nation to participate in the Duke University program.
For her achievement, Megan was invited to participate in a variety of summer camps held at Duke and other universities. She has set her sights on the "Science of Cancer" camp, which she hopes to attend next summer. During the coming year, she likely will hold fundraisers to pay for thee trip.
"I think the more I learn about cancer the better off I'll be when I get to medical school and stuff," said Megan, the daughter of Greg and Sharon Murphy of Grovetown. "I know I have a long road ahead of me."
That long road isn't hampering Megan's desire to help others. In fact, she will participate in Camp All-Stars at her school this summer as an assistant counselor. She also is trying to start up a Relay for Life team at her school.
"I've been trying to get a team started at Grovetown Middle," she said. "I just really want a Relay for Life team there."
When Megan isn't busy helping others, she can be found on the field. The Junior Beta Club member played on the school's softball and soccer teams this year and played softball for the Columbia County Recreation Department. Megan also is active in the youth programs at The Hill Baptist Church on Kings Way in Augusta, where she is a member.
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