Amazing – Emotional – Grateful
I just finished the NYC Marathon and have overcome my biggest fears. The hardships and challenges I have endured — first, Neutropenia starting about 16 years ago, and then, over the last year, double Pneumonia, Intubation, Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), and finally, a Bone Marrow Transplant — are now the very things that have led me to this moment. A moment that means that all of the challenges that I have been through — physically, emotionally, mentally — I can now put behind me.
For me, finishing the marathon was the final step in moving from patient to survivor. I joyfully and full of tears ripped off that patient wristband as I crossed the finish line and kissed my wife.
To top it all off, last Thursday when I had the final appointment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center pre-marathon, the transplant specialist told me that 100% of my new myeloid cells (the ones that were causing me cancer) are now all from the generous 25yr old donor, basically CURING ME of Leukemia and Neutropenia. Thus beginning my new chapter and work as a survivor. I am no longer a patient.
My purpose in life has evolved during this journey. I feel so strongly about the importance and need to pay it forward and bring small moments of happiness to each other, beginning with more smiles. That’s why I’ve created the SMILE PROJECT — my effort to create 42,200 uplifting moments for others in my lifetime I challenge you to join me. With your help, we are already over 10,000 reactions of inspiration and motivation. The best part is that it is all of you that are now my inspiration.
Let’s live for the better!