Maria ‘Scooby’ Cuschieri has battled stigmas all her life, whether it was over her adoption, coming out, or battling mental health. Now, she’s sharing details of her cancer diagnosis to motivate people to continue going even when problems seem like an unstoppable force.
“In life, you can fly or fight. I chose to fight,” Cuschieri told Lovin Malta.
Cuschieri has spoken out on a myriad of issues in regular TV appearances. She’s faced a lifetime of bullying and is even a suicide and self-harm survivor, but has remained determined in shedding taboos and providing a voice for the voiceless.
Cuschieri was diagnosed with cancer around a month ago, and she’s determined to keep positive and share her story.
While cancer is more openly discussed nowadays, it can still be a difficult circumstance to accept, let alone have to divulge it to friends, family and the wider public. As a cancer patient, Cuschieri took it upon herself to step forward so that others could feel a little less afraid.
“People know me for my bubbly, positive side. But everyone has their own baggage in life. I want to show people that it’s possible to go through whatever life throws your way,” she said.
Luckily, she has experience of overcoming her past demons.Cuschieri says she was bullied as a child, having been adopted from Romania at the tender age of five. It continued into her adolescence when she came out publicly that she was gay.
“I used to get blamed for a lot for what other students did. I also used to shave my head as soldiers do. Other students would laugh at me. Once, a teacher even said I should be sent to a boys school instead.”
“I felt my burden was heavy, especially with my parents divorcing at that time,” she lamented.
Now, Cuschieri has her own loving family and system of support, including her partner Tiziana and their adorable seven-year-old son Dan.
“At my lowest point, I realised that I was given a ray of hope – to be of service to my loved ones and community. Then I saw life differently – I started my job as a teacher, focusing on my son and speaking out when I can. Now I know that I feel my best when I feel useful in the world.”
“Now, I’ve got the news that I am diagnosed with cancer. But guess what? I am way too blessed – I have my partner, my son and family supporting me in every way, what can I ask for?” she said.
Despite all the hardships, her story is a tangible reminder to keep strong, reach out and know that it’s always to face your demons with your loved ones by your side.
“Luckily, I have a whole team of support to remind me to carry on fighting for the things that are worth it. I’m truly blessed,” she said.
Well said Maria!