Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Today is Not Just Valentine's Day by Alex Strickland

My name is Alex Strickland, and I am a survivor.When I was four years old, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Luckily, within six months my wonderful doctors had battled my cancer into remission, but I then went through another two and a half years of maintenance chemo therapy.

At age five, I was admitted to the hospital with a bad case of chicken pox. Normally that wouldn't be so dangerous, but the chemo I was previously on had taken a harsh toll on my immune system. The doctors were unsure I would make it.

While I was in the hospital, I  had the privilege of being an Honored Hero for Team In Training's triathlon team. My best friend, who I went through chemo with, went to the triathlon with me and we cheered as his mother crossed the finish line.

My health did come back, and I'm alive and well today in large part to research funded by organizations like The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  So today I am carrying on what they've done for me. I've signed up for Team In Training myself, and in June I will be completing America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride, a 100 mile ride around Lake Tahoe, raising funds along the way to give back to the cause that I've benefited from.

So why is this post titled "Today is Not Just Valentine's Day" you ask? Well, today is something much bigger for me. February 14, 2000 was the day I took my last chemo treatment. Today I celebrate 12 years of health, 12 years of being a survivor, and 12 years since I put cancer behind me.

Join me in celebrating survivorship and the advances we've made in cancer research by donating $12 to LLS today to give today and tomorrow's kids even better treatments than what I had and to make cancer a thing of the past. That way we can focus on the little things, like Valentine's Day, instead. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

TNT participant and Honored Teammate, Alex Strickland, is currently training and raising funds to participate in America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride in Lake Tahoe this June. Alex is a freshman at North Georgia College & State University studying pre-med and aspires to be a doctor.

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