My Cousin Kristin

*** Editor’s Note: Mitch was 12 years old when he delivered this speech to his school.

————————————————————————————————————————- Just close your eyes and imagine. Imagine you are in a room at a hospital waiting for the doctor to arrive after a checkup. Then the doctor comes out and says, “Well, I hate to say it but… you have cancer.” Hello teachers, judges and fellow students.

To many of you this is just an imaginary scene. But for many people, this imaginary scene is a reality.

Nine years ago this happened to my cousin, Kristin Malone, when she was only seven years old.

It was May 19th, 1994. She had not been feeling well, so she went for a check up with her doctor. She went back to school that day and my aunt went back to work. They thought everything was fine. Then while at work, my aunt got a call from the doctor’s office. They suspected Leukemia! The doctor told her to take Kristin immediately to the Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta.

Imagine how terrifying that would be! You are in your car, on the way to see if you have cancer or not.

Immediately, Kristin had blood tests, and the doctors had to get a sample of [...] continue the story

You know where I am going with this, don’t you?

“You know where I am going with this, don’t you?” My doctor is on the other end of the phone discussing my recent lab work. He told me I had a high white count. “Hmmm, do I have an infection?” All my radiologic technologist background went out the window. His quiet reply was “No, I think you have leukemia.” That conversation in early October started my journey with cancer.

Let me back up to earlier in my story. I had been tired for many months prior to this phone call. I didn’t complain because I knew I needed to lose some weight, get to the gym, get more sleep, and eat better. Why should my doctor have to hear about those complaints when I needed to make some lifestyle changes? His phone call to me started as a simple review of my cholesterol, thyroid-the usual yearly suspects. Everything was ok, except one thing. My white count was high. I was in the oncologist/hematologist’s office within 24 hours. Yes, I had leukemia. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. CML. Now what?

To confirm my diagnosis, I had a bone marrow biopsy. Not necessarily tops on my list for how to have a good time. I was [...] continue the story

The Truth of It: Geoff

Geoff is the founder of Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC). He is married and has two young girls. He was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia at the age of 22 and had a recurrence at the age of 25.

Counting Backwards

The day before Joe was diagnosed with Leukemia he was content with ignoring his passion and walking the safe road in life. Now that his days are numbered, the questions that used to be so easy to avoid are now impossible to ignore. Joe refuses treatment in order to live his final days to the fullest. Deciding that now more than ever, it’s important that he experience love – he chooses not to tell Claire, the girl of his dreams, about his dismal prognosis. He begins writing a novel about his experiences as both a method of coping and an attempt at a legacy. As Joe turns the comedic disaster of his life into fantastic triumphs of fiction, he learns to be the courageous and artistic hero of his mind, and ultimately discovers that he is living a life worth fighting for.

Eleven Candles

Director Joel Fendelman follows his award-winning short documentary about the 2004 March for Women’s Lives, BAND OF SISTERS, with ELEVEN CANDLES, an intimate and insightful portrait of 10-year-old Natalie’s battle with leukemia. A year after diagnosis, Natalie faces ongoing doctor appointments and a myriad of health concerns, including necrosis of her hip. She meets each challenge with an amazing blend of inquisitiveness and hope.

As Natalie’s 11th birthday approaches, ELEVEN CANDLES follows her from the hospital to the shopping mall. Through engaging interviews, Natalie reveals her vigor for life, how other kids have responded to her illness and why she doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her. The short documentary offers a rare glimpse of a young cancer patient’s life.