On April 15th 2010 I was diagnosed with a life threatening disease, acute lymphoblastic Leukemia. On that day the trajectory of my life changed forever. At that time, I was a full time student at Montgomery County Community College, working a full time job in retail management for Crocs Inc., and a mere twenty four hours prior to being diagnoses I was having the time of my life at the Phillies opening night game with my cousin, Chris. Who knew a day later I would be rushed to the hospital and would spend the next seventy-two hours in the intensive care unit? After my immediate condition stabilized my doctors then informed me that in order to receive the necessary treatment for this disease my life’s activities would have to be put on hold for approximately a year. This included withdrawing from school and taking a leave of absence from the job I loved. The treatment plan would be intense. I had no idea what the magnitude of these treatments would entail – but I would soon find out. Over the course of the next ten months I logged in a total of sixteen weeks of hospitalization, received aggressive chemotherapy, underwent cranial radiation, and suffered many horrific side effects from the treatment.
Life as I knew it was now officially interrupted. This was a shock to me. I was devastated to say the least. Adjusting to this new medical status and embarking on a life that focused on nothing but cancer was truly over whelming. Coping with this was difficult and understandably it was an emotional struggle. From the beginning of this journey I have always had a strong support system – excellent doctors, caring nurses, loving family, devoted friends, my faith, and many prayers even from people I have never met. These were all source of strength that I drew upon. Another inspiring source of strength was the motivation that I gained by reflecting on the long fought battles for survival that my late grandparents endured during the last part of their lives. During their battles they demonstrated courage, determination, inner strength and a “never give up” attitude. Unfortunately, unlike myself, my grandparents lost their fight for survival.
Admittedly, in some of my darkest moments doubt did seep into my thoughts. I had to dig deep to tap into my inner strength. However, sheer determination, perseverance, and a “can do” attitude enabled me to beat the odds. I have since been able to return to life’s normal activities.
Although this have been the most grueling excruciating experience I’ve ever endured the silver lining in this story is that I was able to give myself a gift – the gift of self confidence. I know there is absolutely nothing I can’t accomplish when I put my mind to it. I’m now physically, mentally and emotionally ready, willing and very eager to take on new challenges, travel new roads, and channel my new found lease on life toward achieving new goals. I have been in remissions for almost four years, in fact this past summer I completed all of my treatments. In 2012 I completed my Associates degree at Montgomery County Community College and in November of 2013 I returned to Crocs – the job I love. My battle was long with many ups and downs however the circle for my journey has closed. I am now devoted to raising money to find a cure for ALL blood caners so no one has to go through what I went through.
Founded by a leukemia survivor, Anthony's Climbers was established in 2011. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money to help find a cure for ALL blood cancers.
For more information about LLS click HERE.
For more than 60 years, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has been solely focused on people with blood cancers. Presently, we have more than $250 million committed to research across the United States and in ten other countries.