My name is Kiara Rodriguez, and I am a high school student from a little island called Puerto Rico. To this day, it is of importance for me that my country gets recognized for its scientific, literary and technological contributions. I never expected to be part of the group making that happen.
I am 17 years old and for the past few years, I have performed research involving medical health, environmental impact and memory regeneration. When I was selected to participate at the BioMedical Research Education Program last summer, I knew I needed to investigate colorectal cancer. While my family’s proclivity toward breast cancer development is dangerously high, what’s even more scary is that colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death in men and women in the United States. Furthermore, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, with nearly 1.4 million new cases diagnosed by 2012.
Colon cancer prevention is a substantial part of my occupational goals, and it is why I decided to initiate the first phase of my investigation: “The Association Between Colon Cancer and Inflammation.” I had the opportunity to work at Puerto Rico’s Comprehensive Cancer Center under the mentorship of Dr. Julyann Pérez-Mayoral and Dr. Marcia Cruz-Correa. Part of my research consisted in identifying levels of Interlukien 6, a protein directly related to colon cell proliferation, and its impact on colon cancer infected samples. This phase is just the first step of an even deeper investigation that could potentially produce a device that would detect proclivity towards cancer development; henceforth, increasing methods of early detection and diagnosis for those who cannot afford a colonoscopy.
After winning first place regionally, my project was chosen to fly out to Los Angeles, California as an observer for the International Science Fair where delegates from more than 70 other countries compete. It is an incredible honor to be considered the best of the country and I plan to share my cause with everyone I can.
My trip, which has a total cost of $3,000, is an amazing opportunity for colon cancer to be shared with the world and the rest of the scientific community. It is my chance to bring awareness to a disease that has affected so many people and that will continue to do so if we do not educate others about its dangers. I encourage you to investigate and do your own research about colon cancer in your community and family. I also ask, if possible, to donate or share this information with others that might be willing to offer sponsorship opportunities for my trip. Any donations can be sent via mail to:
Kiara L. Rodriguez Acevedo
106 Calle Luis Muñoz Rivera
Caguas, PR 00725
Or deposited directly to this GoFundMe Account: InternationalScienceFair.
For all that have lost someone to cancer, I promise you that this generation is working as hard as can be to find a cure. And that all your struggle and suffering will never go without notice.
For additional information about my project or trip please contact me to:
Kiara L. Rodríguez Acevedo