“November 2, 2016 the Cleveland Indians were hosting the Chicago Cubs for Game 7 of the World Series. As a fan of the Indians, a game 7 World Series game is a big deal. As things started to look bleak one of the biggest fans decided it was not worth the energy to stay awake and watch them lose. Just days prior on Halloween I found out I was anemic on all levels. I would spend the next two weeks wondering about my future and worrying about my heath’s potential outcome.

On November 16th, my worst fear was confirmed. I had cancer. A bone marrow biopsy days later showed I had Acute Myeloid Leukemia or AML. I was just 28 at the time. In mere days my future became uncertain and my ability to have kids and other dreams were thrown out the window. The cancer was fast growing and my blasts were showing up at 84% in my bone marrow. The doctors informed me and my family that I would need a bone marrow transplant in order to survive. With my mother Joyce by my side I underwent induction chemo and consolidation chemo to get me into remission in February 2017. On March 28, 2017 I received life saving bone marrow from a complete stranger through the bone marrow registry. Jake, my donor, was my hero. Jake is still my hero.

Just shy of being 3 years in remission I learned that my leukemia was back. This time I nearly lost my voice to this awful disease due to a Myeloid Sarcoma on my right vocal cord. This is leukemia outside of the bone marrow. Today I am in remission again. I am still undergoing treatment at James Cancer Hospital Solove Research Institute, awaiting a second bone marrow transplant.

If in the past 3 ½ has taught me anything it is the power of positivity. My attitude was, and still is, the only thing I had control over. I am almost always seen with a big smile on my face ready to tackle whatever cancer throws at me. I’m a true warrior. I’m a warrior just like Erica is. Erica became my peer mentor through the H.O.P.E. program with The James about 18 months ago. She has been essential to me through my relapse.
I am always one to say that God has a purpose for everything. Although cancer is a beast and I would wish to eradicate it from this Earth I know that leukemia has made Erica the person she is today. The doctor that she is today. I aspire to do as much for The Leukemia Lymphoma Society as she has.”

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