Freshman Darrell Wood always knew he wanted to give back to the community. However, he was not quite sure when and where in life he would start his journey. Prior to starting his college career, Wood would go on a yearly medical mission trip to Honduras. On this trip, along with others, he would go to a mountain to visit different villages and give medical assistance to those in need.
“I can remember waking up early, then traveling up the mountain-which took a little over four hours-but being able to serve them was worth it,” said Wood.
In order for them to get up the mountain, they would travel by bus, boat, donkey ride or even hike it to help others.
Wood will never forget helping one particular man who was in a machete accident and accidently cut off his arm. He described that as an “eye-opener,” but was happy that they were able to take the man down the mountain to get him the help he needed.
“To see the joy in people’s faces when they get the medical attention they need is just a blessing,” said Wood.
However, Wood later found himself needing medical attention. During his senior year in high school, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 18. Wood went through two rounds of chemotherapy, and just recently had surgery in October to remove his swollen lymph nodes.
“My scars define who I am as a person, and they tell what I’ve been through,” said Wood.
He is still currently recovering, but most importantly, he is cancer-free.
“Don’t give up, and never stop dreaming or living life because of your illness,” said Wood.
Wood, who is a local from Hampton, VA, decided to start his college career at Virginia Wesleyan. His turning point was attending admitted student day, where he made his final decision based on the college’s ambassadors, who made him feel welcome, and Dr. Travis Malone, associate professor of theatre for making a connection with him.
“For a professor that you barely know to take that extra time to get to know you as an individual, to help you succeed, meant a lot to me,” said Wood.
Because of that instance, Wood fell in love with Virginia Wesleyan and wanted to be a part of the Marlin community. He ended up choosing Wesleyan over Bridgewater and Hampden-Sydney.
One of his favorite things is the liberal arts curriculum. He enjoys receiving a well-rounded education and being able to explore the different aspects of life. For example, Wood is currently taking a Modern Mathematics course and really likes it, despite being a Music and Theatre major.
“It allows you to expand your mind, and yourself as an individual,” said Wood.
As of now, Wood continues to share his story to show people that it is possible to overcome any obstacle that comes your way. After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.