“Dr. Tan was everything you’d want in a practitioner,” he says. “I had many days in which I didn’t feel good, but he kept pushing me forward. He encouraged me to eat healthy and to exercise despite the fatigue I was feeling. He perfected the balance of telling me the tough things I needed to hear and the things that would keep me hopeful.”
Sroka has been cancer-free for more than a year. He says the news provided him extreme relief – he was finally free to focus all his energy on pursuing his medical education. He says he’s considering surgical specialties like orthopaedic oncology, which would combine his passion for sports with his interest in oncology. No matter the field he enters into, he knows the kind of physician he’ll become.
“Even after medical school, I’ll keep in mind the things I learned from Dr. Tan. As a physician, I’ll be real and truthful with my patients about their situation, so they can make the best, informed decisions,” he says. “I’ll instill a sense of hope in them like Dr. Tan did for me, so they can be as hopeful and healthy as possible both during and after their medical treatment.”
Sroka’s passion for medicine is aided by receiving both the Avonelle C. Noah Scholarship and the Empowered Physician Scholarship, awarded by PracticeMatch. In his award-winning essay for the agency, Sroka outlined how his battle with cancer was actually a blessing in disguise.
“After going through such an experience, I have realized that every second of every day is an opportunity to make a difference in the world,” he wrote. “I know that becoming a physician would allow me to seize those opportunities to help others to be strong and to provide supportive counsel for those who are sick, no matter the diagnosis. That would bring me the greatest satisfaction in life.”