Hearing the words “you have cancer,” or “your child has cancer,” can change your life forever. Since a diagnosis used to be a death sentence, that meant a shortened future filled with pain and heartache. However, ground-breaking research has changed the disease as we know it. Individuals are not just surviving after cancer; they are living.
Meet Sadie. At only 2 years old, Sadie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, better known as ALL. Now, at 23, Sadie is a cancer-free college senior. She is also a race car driver.
“When I tell people that I am a race car driver, they don’t believe me,” Sadie said. “When I tell them I am a leukemia survivor, they REALLY don’t believe me.”
Sadie and her parents credit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with helping to save her life.
(Text continues below)
At only 2 years old, Sadie was diagnosed with ALL. Now she is a race car driver. Watch Sadie tell her story here.
Ella's tribulations began with a horrifying misdiagnosis. But when her parents found out that cancer was the real cause of their daughter's issues, they set about changing the world for every child fighting the same fight as Ella. Watch the young survivor's mother share her story here.
In a shocking twist of fate, Andy was diagnosed with multiple myeloma -- the same cancer his wife died from twelve years earlier. However, Andy's story is not only one of survival, but of an incredible, full life. Watch him tell his story here.
Judy, a mother, grandmother, teacher and piano player, had to initially beg her doctor to test her for chronic myelogenous leukemia. The diagnosis was grim. After planning her cremation and taking a final bucket-list trip to New Zealand, Judy was given a last-minute opportunity that would change her future. Watch Judy tell her amazing story here.
kathmandude:In 2010 I was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 26. I went through surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation treatments and a year of chemotherapy. A few weeks after I finished chemo I joined a team of cancer survivors to climb to Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal! I am blessed.
mhdu:As a child, Maureen looked forward to witnessing the year 2000. Instead, Maureen rang it in from an intensive care bed, suffering from an acute form of Leukemia. She’s been cancer free since the end of treatment. During recovery, Maureen took up writing. She completed several book-length manuscripts. After chemo, she couldn’t climb a flight of stairs. Now Maureen hikes and enjoys her hobby, photography—this fall photo is one she took.
dancinggrandma:Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 esophageal cancer. It's lethality is just below pancreatic cancer and I was given a 15% chance of survival by five years. I did many weeks of chemo/radiation, followed up by what's considered "the worst surgery done to humans"; gastresophagectomy. They take the whole esophagus & 1/2 the stomach out and pull the remaining stomach up into the chest, then attach it to the bottom of the throat. Four months of hospitalization on a feeding tube followed. I'm near 4 years out now with no recurrences - a miracle by all standards. What got me through was my intense curiosity about this cancer, my endless questions for the doctors, and my determination to remain upbeat, accepting, and continuing to free style dance every week (not those 4 months, though!) I now believe that curiosity replaces fear/dread. Also, I made it my mission to face this ordeal in a way that, if I were to die, my kids would have a helluva humorous, brave model of dying to always remember by. After, this just might be the final & most important lesson I ever had to teach them. If I was scared or grief-stricken at this possible outcome, I turned to my friends rather than burden my kids as they were already overwhelmed by the prospect of losing their mom at only 66 years old. The gifts of cancer have given great meaning to the journey. Learning to accept help especially!
Battling Liekemia and Stroke at 33 with two boys. Had to re learn how to walk, talk, speak. Ran a half marathon 3 days after finishing chemo! Now I'm a single dad trying my best to enjoy life!
Award winning novelist Tom Piccirilli was diagnosed with brain cancer the last week of September 2012. October 1st 2012 he had brain surgery where they were able to remove 98% of the tumor. Tom was told he had a 2 to 3 % chance to survive the year. One year and three months later there is still no signs of cancer. Tom always believed he'd recover and his remarkable positive attitude along with an amazing staff of doctors and nurses, friends and family have all helped him to win his fight. Tom Piccirilli has since written essays on his recovery and is currently working on his latest novel, BLUE AUTUMN, to be published by Bantam next year. Think positive, believe and never stop fighting..
LLS has invested nearly $1 billion to advance cancer therapies over the last 60 years and provided $44.2 million in co-pays just in 2012 alone. As the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to finding cures for blood cancers, LLS has funded many of today’s most promising advances in cancer therapies.
"I think I value life a little differently than some people,” Sadie said. “I could have not lived past 6 years old."
LLS’s decades-long focus on blood cancers has affected not only Sadie, but many kids just like her. In 1964, there was only a 3 percent chance of surviving 5 years after a pediatric ALL diagnosis. Today, that number is 90 percent.
Sadie is just one of the many cancer survivors who is living a thriving, full life after her diagnosis. The above slideshow shares four amazing tales of survival brought to you by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. To learn more about how you can get involved, check out their site here.
Do you have your own incredible story of life after cancer? Submit a photo and share your experience!