RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. -- With every step Victoria Wakile takes during the fourth annual 5K Walk to End Children's Brain Tumors, she won't only help raise awareness -- she'll move past her own struggles with the illness.
The 21-year-old daughter of Kathy and Richard Wakile of "Real Housewives of New Jersey," Victoria was 10 when doctors found and began treating her tumor over a decade ago. Last year, it was back."The first time we realized it was after she fainted on the beach while on vacation," Kathy Wakile said. "The second time she felt odd, felt different. It was hard for her to focus. She felt fuzzy."
After undergoing surgery, Victoria has continued checkups at New York Presbyterian/ Columbia University Medical Center with positive results.
"It was scary because I had felt that that part of my life was something I would always remember and it would just be a bump in the road and I'd never experience it ever again," she said. "But now I know it will become something that is a part of my life. "It's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just part of me."
The Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation reached out to the Wakiles. Victoria has since spoken at conventions about her experience.
"There is only so much I can say to those that experience brain tumors and haven't been so lucky," she said. "In a way I sometimes feel selfish because my outcomes were so positive... But that is not true at all."
She is now studying to become a nurse to give back to those who helped her.
"I never forgot all the nurses and doctors I came in contact with," Victoria said. "They were so great to me as a patient, and I just want to be that for someone."
Meanwhile, her mother has helped raise $500,000 for brain tumor research while donating a portion of her Goddess Eye jewelry line to the National Brain Tumor Society and the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation.
The entire Wakile family will walk to benefit CBTF as "Team Victoria" at 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 20 in Overpeck County Park in Ridgefield Park. Registration is $10. DETAILS / INFORMATION : CBTF.org
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