Who is Renas

Human, dedicated, ambitious, a passionate dancer and lover of the arts, a mathematical mastermind, an analytical cynic, a pessimistic optimist, open minded, loyal, brutally honest, among other things; but most importantly a fighter. I always finish what I start. I stand up for what I believe in and I am not afraid to voice my opinion.

Being diagnosed with cancer changed me. It did not take away from who I was; it made me better. It made me realize what my priorities are. It did not allow me to be a victim.

My name is Renas Sidahmed, I am 34 years old, and I am an individual with chronic illnesses. Groups like AA, NA, GA don’t quite fit the bill. For me it’s more like CIA – Chronic Illnesses Anonymous. That has a nice ring to it. But ok we are not anonymous by choice, but we are anonymous because the extent to our experiences are often times ignored which makes us feel like an anonymous face as we shuffle through the prognosis and diagnosis of cancer. And if you are one step closer to the treatment you deserve,  you might belong to this group CIUE: Chronic Illnesses Under Estimated  I should definitely copyright that! I have Follicular Lymphoma Stage 1A (Non-Hodgkin, one year in remission), Endometriosis, PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome… your ovaries love the good company of cysts), IC (Interstitial Cystitis… the unintended gold shower is real), IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome… yeah, you have the shits), Depression, Anxiety and Panic Disorder.


“Io non cerco di ballare meglio di qualcun altro, cerco solo di ballare meglio di me stesso,” – Alessandra Grasso

[I do not try to dance better than anyone else; I only try to dance better than myself.]

We are only who we are, who we were destined to become. We are all different and unique and that is what makes us amazing.

Dance has given me clarity, relief, it allows me to express myself without words, and shows me that there is more to life than stress, unhappiness, solitude, and boredom. When I was dealing with the initial effects of my cancer diagnosis, I needed to be in control of something. Dance gave me that control.

My parents are from Sudan and migrated to the United States in the late 1970s. As a result, my siblings and I were born there; my brother and sister in the Golden State of California and yours truly in the Cornhusker state of Nebraska.

We left the U.S. two weeks after I was born and moved to Kenya for a couple of years and then Libya (during the U.S. air strikes of 1986). I was too young to remember any of it but my mom has told us many stories of having to take cover under the beds and how she would have to stand in line for hours just to buy some bread. Soon enough, our lives changed and we moved to Rome, Italy. The experiences I have had, the friendships that I have made the obstacles that I faced, have made me part of who I am today.

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