The Times photo by Betsy Reason
Noblesville East Middle School seventh-grader Megan Broviak smiles as she awaits her name being called as the Indiana Student Council Association “Young Indiana Hero” on Thursday at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds in Noblesville. Kristen Leer, NEMS Student Council adviser (background), nominated the 13-year-old.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason Noblesville East Middle School seventh-grader Megan Broviak smiles as she awaits her name being called as the Indiana Student Council Association “Young Indiana Hero” on Thursday at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds in Noblesville. Kristen Leer, NEMS Student Council adviser (background), nominated the 13-year-old.

Megan Broviak has a smile on her face every time that I see her. And she had an even bigger smile on Thursday when she came forward in front of hundreds of applauding Student Council members from all over the state to accept the Indiana Student Council Association “Young Indiana Hero Award.” 

“I thought it was really awesome, and I tried not to cry when I walked up and everybody started standing up. It was really cool,” the bubbly, bright 13-year-old said just moments after receiving the award.

The Noblesville East Middle School seventh-grader loves school and is a member of Student Council, is on the Academic Honor Roll, plays lacrosse, plays trumpet in jazz band and likes “all of the diversified arts.” She loves basketball and played the sport with the Indiana Girls Basketball Noblesville travel team. She was a member of the stage crew for NEMS’s fall musical, “Mary Poppins Jr.,” and is also a Conner Prairie youth volunteer in her second year.

While she may sound like a typical, busy, middle-schooler, Megan Broviak is dealing with more than any 13-year-old should have to cope.

“In 2015, I got diagnosed with (Acute Lymphoblastic) Leukemia, and then I was cured, and I got diagnosed again just back in September,” said Megan, who has been undergoing treatment. Recently, she hasn’t felt well enough to take treatments but has felt well enough to stay out of the hospital, she said.

Her original leukemia diagnosis came in March 2015, after the 9-year-old was feeling extremely tired, which was “unlike Megan,” her mom, Ann Broviak, said. “She was healthy, a really healthy kid.”

Megan went to the doctor, who ordered blood work. 

“And that’s how they found it,” Ann Broviak said.  

After a year and a half of chemotherapy, Megan was in remission. She had blood work done every other month.

Then, the unthinkable happened in September 2018 during the first semester of seventh grade.

“I was just sitting in Social Studies, and I got really bored, so I started playing on my iPad. I opened up the (rear-facing) camera, and there was a huge lump on the side of my neck,” Megan said. 

She went to the school nurse, who called her mom, and went to the doctor later that day. “It took a little while, but nobody really knew what it was until they did surgery and took it out. And then, they found out it was cancerous,” said Megan, who pointed to lymph nodes in the right side of her neck. “There was a huge, visible lump on the side of my neck ….. We caught it early enough that it wasn’t in my blood stream yet.”

Her mom remains strong for Megan, who, possesses a “don’t give up attitude.”

She said, “It’s a lot harder this time with the relapse, something you think you’re never going to hear the first time.”

Since the first diagnosis, Megan’s life has changed.

“It’s been mostly bad, but a lot of good things have come out of it,” Megan said. “I’ve met a lot of people, a lot of really awesome people that I would have never met...I’ve made a lot of good friends out of it.”

What else? “Now I know a lot about medical stuff, too,” said Megan, who thinks she wants to be a doctor someday.

Brett Broviak, who attended the awards, said his daughter is highly competitive and a goal setter whose goal is to beat this cancer. Besides dealing with the diagnosis and treatment, he said, it’s hard seeing the number of school activities that she’s missed out on. 

Over the weekend, she didn’t go on the jazz band trip to St. Louis because she wasn’t allowed to travel that far from home. 

 “I think the biggest thing she misses, being in treatment, is being a part of that school community. It means a lot,” her mom said. “She’s ecstatic when she goes to school. She loves school.”

Megan stayed home from school most of October through December. During the past three months, when she was not at Riley Hospital for Children, she has been attending classes at NEMS. She attended February’s East vs. West Fundraiser Basketball Game, which raised money for the Indiana Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She got to sell tickets for the school fundraiser. In February 2017, as a fifth-grader, she was a Stony Creek Elementary School Ambassador for the fundraiser, Pennies for Patients, and was the 2017 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Girl of the Year.

Megan was the sole recipient of Thursday’s Young Indiana Hero Award, given by the Indiana Association of Student Councils to honor a Young Indiana Hero who exhibits exceptional strength of character, mind and body. Megan accepted the award at the Association’s Representative Assembly and Spring Leadership Conference at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds in Noblesville.

“I’m very proud of her. She works really, really hard. She loves school. She loves being there and all of the activities and the academics,” Ann Broviak said.

“In my eyes, Megan defines everything that a hero is,” said Kristen Leer, NEMS Student Council adviser, who nominated Broviak for the award. 
Leer sat beside the family, awaiting the award on Thursday. 

“I’m nervous but excited,” Megan said. “I was really excited when I heard about it. I was surprised, too.” She heard the news only after her mom checked with her doctors to make sure that Megan would be allowed to attend. She got the OK on Tuesday.

Recently, also Megan learned of her selection to the Drum Corps International World Championships in August at Lucas Oil Stadium, where she will play with other brass-instrument band students from all over the nation.

“She’s a remarkable young lady, a great example at our school,” Leer said. “And that’s why she was nominated...”

Leer said Megan has kept up on her schoolwork while undergoing treatments. And when she’s at school, Megan volunteers in her classes and completes all of her assignments.

The nomination letter was read to the audience.

Leer said, “What inspired me most about Megan is the smile she has on her face every single day. Megan is in a battle that no child should have to be in. She continues to thrive during this obstacle and has never given up hope.”

She said, “Megan has chosen the heroic way to live her life to its fullest and not let cancer slow her down. Megan is an inspiration to her teachers, classmates and the Noblesville community.”

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com