Haymakers for Hope is giving me the chance to share my story, raise money for the team that saved my life, and show just how strong survivors are.
Why I fight?
This fight is personal.
I was diagnosed with leukemia on July 15th, 2015. I had celebrated my 20th birthday just days before. All I could think about was all of the things I might lose.
Over the next year, I would lose almost every single one of them, enduring eight rounds of chemotherapy, two heart attacks, two stem cell transplants, and over 200 nights in the hospital. I took medical leave from college, my hair fell out after the first few rounds of chemotherapy, I dropped down to 120 lbs, and I could no longer walk, eat, or breathe on my own. Somehow though, I never lost my hope.
Following my second stem cell transplant, I spent three weeks in a coma in the ICU. When I woke up, I was ready to start getting my life back. A month later, I left the hospital without a breathing tube. A month after that, the doctors removed the feeding tube. A week after that, I went back to college to begin my junior year at Amherst.
My doctor actually told me that his official recommendation was that I should not return to school so quickly, but for me, a big part of recovery is getting my life back. There were compromises, like coming home every weekend for blood tests or wearing a surgical mask on campus, but ultimately he let me do it. He agreed that part of getting better is getting back to normal.
Since then, I graduated from Amherst College in May 2018, moved to Brooklyn to begin a job as a Research Analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and just finished my applications to begin graduate school for a Ph.D. in Economics. These big moments, as well as all the small ones in between, make me so grateful for the care I received at Dana-Farber that kept me alive.
I fight for those who fought for me. The money I raise will be donated to the hospital and the medical staff who took care of me. These are doctors who made life-saving decisions and nurses whose joy and enthusiasm carried me through the worst days.
I fight to continue the progress. I would not have survived without the innovations in cancer treatment developed over the past decade, so this money will go towards research initiatives at Dana-Farber that will save even more lives.
I fight for survivors. We are strong, and I want to prove that there is nothing we cannot do.