Diagnosed with ALL in 5th grade, my hopes for a normal and healthy childhood were quickly shattered. The impact on my family began as devastation but has since metamorphosed into restoration, healing, and a closeness beyond this world (bonus, my brother and I have never fought since the day I received the news of my disease).
Undergoing chemotherapy, a collapsed lung from the insertion of a medi-port, countless blood transfusions, developing shingles, and anemia throughout, those days nonetheless passed slowly in the hospital and eventually in an outpatient setting. By the grace of God I never required a bone marrow transplant and 23 years later my chances of contracting another cancer are the same as everyone else.
LLS has been a part of my life through Team In Training (as a patient), Light the Night (as a survivor), and two cancer conferences I've been able to attend. By giving close to 80% of donations directly to cancer research and helping educate families and patients alike, they continue to amaze me with their selflessness and strong desire for a cure to blood cancers.
Fortitude, empathy, appreciation for the next breath, grit, methodically approaching life, all these are unintended blessings from my days as a Leukemia patient. A bond with all those in the LLS community is something I treasure and I look forward to helping spread the word continually of the work they do.