If you had to pick three words to describe the nominee, what would they be?
Resilient, Selfless, Determined
How has the nominee coped with adversity in their cancer journey?
He was diagnosed with leukemia at a very young age. In some ways his childhood was taken from him because he was ill around the same time most kids his age were learning to ride bikes, swim, and go to school. Despite this, he made it a priority to return to as normal a life as possible. He took an interest in his illness from a scientific perspective at a young age and has used his experiences as a patient and now a patient advocate/researcher to fuel his career ambitions--to help give back to young people with cancer. He has taken something that some may consider very negative and has used it in a positive way to help others.
In what ways does the nominee bring the mantra of "get busy living" into their day-to-day life?
He "gets busy living" by doing everything he can for those dealing with cancer. He works directly with cancer patients as a research coordinator for the University of Colorado Cancer Center. In his position he is given the chance to comfort cancer patients after they have learned of their diagnosis, and provide them with the option to participate in research trials that may save their lives. He volunteers for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society each year and has found time to complete two research fellowships in cancer research, including winning a research award to study pediatric cancer by the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Everything he does, he does with the knowledge and intent of improving the lives of those currently coping with the distressing news that he once received.
What is unique about the way the nominee gets busy living?
What is so remarkable about him is his generosity. Whether he is fund-raising money for cancer research or donating his time to speak about his experience as a childhood cancer survivor, he never seems to mind giving more of himself if it means helping others in a similar situation. In addition to his incredible generosity, I love his happy outlook on life. He always manages to infuse tense situations with humor, warmth and heart. Rather than spending his days feeling sorry for himself, he enjoys comforting family and friends who are having a rough day with gentle jokes, comedic impressions and funny dance moves. More important than any recognition for himself or the wonderful things he does, he loves when he can make a friend laugh.
How has the nominee impacted you directly?
He has shown me the importance of giving back to the community. He lives every day reminded of how lucky he is and how others may not have the opportunities that he does. Rather than hiding his diagnosis or writing it off as a part of his life he never wants to remember, he uses the memory of his difficulties to power his determination to serve others.