I was a nurse prior to getting diagnosed with cancer. When I was working I wondered to myself, how are my patients so strong laying in that hospital bed? Little did I know I was going to be one. At age 24, back in 2013, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Months before I just had a small lump on my neck and thought it would go away, but I decided to check out what was going on.
I received a call from the doctor that the biopsy of my lump was positive for cancer. I was admitted to the hospital and found out that 95 percent of my cells were cancer cells. Treatment started immediately, and I was told later that I needed a stem cell transplant to survive. I stayed in the hospital for a few months waiting for a match. None of my siblings were a match. We were told my parents weren't likely to be either because I was only 50 percent my dad and 50 percent my mom. Every morning I kept hearing " Unfortunately Valerie, we can't find you a match" so my family and friends assisted with a "Be a Match" drive and recruited about 200 volunteers to be tested. Even after that, we still hadn't found anyone. But my parents asked if they could try and next thing we know my dad was my match 9/10. Transplant was completed. Recovery was difficult , but possible. With prayers and support, I was able to make it through.
I am blessed and happy to be living, and I want to share that there is hope. Hang on to that hope and fight together. If it helps, tell your love ones who are fighting "we are all in this together" so they know that they are not alone. That's how I held on and became "Victorious Val." Let's beat Cancer!