I wanted to share the story of an important connection that I made this past week. I received the below email from a woman whose father was just recently diagnosed with the same form of leukemia that I was diagnosed with. Needless to say, I was very touched by her email. So much so, that I made arrangements to meet the woman, as well as her mom, right after the 8K race that was run this weekend as part of the Philadelphia Marathon & Half Marathon. We met briefly after the race and established a great connection which I hope will continue to grow.
Read on …
I am a 22 year old recent Penn graduate and now a nurse at HUP in Philadelphia. I was reading over the Philly Magazine Be Well Blog and came across your name and story. I just wanted to tell you that you are an inspiration for me. My family found out in May that my 49 year old father (who has never been sick in his life) was diagnosed with CLL. While he does not have any symptoms and is lucky to be Stage 0 at this time, this sudden diagnosis was shocking and devastating to us, especially since it is not common for people so young to be diagnosed with CLL.
My father has always been my hero and the person I aspire to be like, which sounds cliché but is 100% true. Since my mother and I are both nurses, we knew the seriousness of this diagnosis and my mother especially has been having a really hard time trying to come to terms with my father’s diagnosis. She has talked to many people who know someone who received the same diagnosis and she tends to focus on the worst-case scenarios. Reading about your story made me so excited to show her an example of someone who was diagnosed young, just like my father, and who has pushed through and fought this illness into remission. While we have no idea what is in store for my father and his fight with CLL, it’s always nice to hear of a good outcome.
I don’t want to take up a lot of your time, but I saw you are running in this Saturday’s 8k run. I took up running myself just before we received my father’s diagnosis and it has helped give me an outlet to escape the worry that is sometimes prevalent in my family and explore what my body is capable of. My father’s diagnosis encouraged me to sign up for this race and I can’t believe it is finally here. I just wanted to let you know that I am even more excited to cross the finish line this Saturday knowing you are running in this race as well and I hope you know how much of an inspiration you are to people like me.
If you happen to see a girl with black pants and a red long sleeved Penn shirt on amongst the hundreds of people on Saturday, please say hello. My mom will be there to cheer me on and I can’t wait to send this e-mail and tell her about your story. Thank you so much for your story and good luck Saturday!