A scary medical situation during her senior year has only made a Bowling Green High School graduate double down on her career choice.
Cassidy Vestal is already part of the Central Joint Fire District in Portage, going out on runs. She plans on studying emergency services technology at Owens Community College to become a firefighter/paramedic.
A bout with kidney tumors left her more committed than ever to her future career.
“Right now it’s all solved,” Vestal said of the medical situation that started in August.
Blood in her urine led to several doctors and ultrasounds, she said. Eventually, three tumors on her left kidney were discovered.
She had to endure four scopes, taking a close look at the kidneys. The tumors were cauterized — three days before Christmas.
“They were hoping that was going to work,” Vestal said.
A week later, the blood came back. She had another cauterization in March.
“So far it’s been good. They said they’ve only seen it in older people. It puzzled them,” Vestal said.
She said she will draw on her treatment and the experience as she becomes a firefighter/paramedic.
“I already had my career choice picked out. It just shows that you can have something wrong and still reach for what you want to do.”
The nurses and doctors also made an impression on Vestal.
“They were all real caring and nice. I’ll treat my patients the same way.”
She’s been with Central Joint since December and got officially voted on staff this spring.
Vestal said she’s more of an assistant right now, but enjoys wearing the turnout gear and going on runs.
“Right now, I just help the other people that are going out,” she said. “I’ve gone to two car crashes and it wasn’t too bad.
“I just like helping people out in my community and making sure everyone’s safe.”
At Bowling Green High School, Vestal was active in FFA where she was an officer and the sentinel.
She said she enjoyed raising funds and planning for Bobcat-a-thon, tailgates and the Wood County Fair float.
“We went to the children’s hospital and did a lunch for the children in Toledo. That was fun.”
FFA has a great reputation and Vestal said she wanted to be a part of it during high school.
“I heard it was a good organization and I wanted to see how I could better it. My senior year, I wanted to become an officer.”
One of her favorite teachers is FFA adviser, Stephanie Conway.
“Mrs. Conway like a second mom to me,” Vestal said.
Conway said that Vestal’s quiet determination will take her far in life.
“Cassidy has been such a pleasure to have in class, work with and get to know over the last four years,” Conway said. “She has a humble, hardworking spirit and her willingness to learn new skills and overcome obstacles goes above and beyond that of her peers. She accomplishes any goal she sets and because of all these things I have no doubt she will have a great and successful future in the medical field.”
Vestal has been working at McDonald’s since she was 16. She is the daughter of Missy and Kevin Vestal and has an older sister, Meghan.
Vestal is handling the coronavirus pandemic with all the cool of a seasoned firefighter/pandemic.
“We have to wear PPE (personal protective equipment) when we’re on runs. It doesn’t scare me any more than anything else would.”
Losing the end of senior year hurts, but Vestal said her class will go down in history.
“Class of 2020, no one will ever have a graduation like them,” she said.