Nineteen Years, A Survivor

19 years ago today, I was diagnosed with Leukemia. I endured 2.5 years of chemotherapy and never stopped fighting. I knew it wasn’t my time. I knew I had more to do in life, more to experience… and I decided I would never forget that once it was all over. I promised myself to always stand up for what I held true, be openly passionate about everything & everyone I love, and always do what I love no matter what obstacles I encountered or who might try to make me second-guess myself.

I know the value of how precious life is and how quickly it can be altered or taken away. I will never forget that. I like to think I’ve done a pretty good job of honoring that promise to myself.

So here I sit, 19 years later… writing in my bedroom in Cleveland, the city I was born and raised in and decided to call home for good about 10 years ago. I’m in the middle of packing for my next trip (Birmingham, Alabama), to cover my first feet-on-the-ground IndyCar Series race of the year, at one of my most favorite tracks in the country, Barber Motorsports Park.

It’s not lost on me how poignant that act of packing is this evening, because exactly 19 years ago on this evening, I was also packing a bag. A bag filled with pajamas and my favorite stuffed animal because my parents and I needed to go check in at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, as we had just gotten THE phone call a couple hours prior.

That bag, on April 16th, 1999… represented a pause in my life, dependency on others, and uncertainty of what was ahead… which was scary as hell.

This bag, on April 16th, 2018… represents the continued adventure of my life, my full independence, and the uncertainty of what is ahead… which is indescribably exciting.

I’m ecstatic to be exactly where I am in life and so very thankful for each and every one of you… not to mention the many who won’t be able to read this. I have the most incredible parents in the world and there is absolutely no way I would be who I am or where I am today if it weren’t for them. I know some of you are going through a rough time right now, but please remember: as quickly as life may have changed for the negative or the unknown, it can change back in the same fashion. And I pray you all keep fighting, focusing and dreaming… because #lifeisgood and it needs you to participate in whatever capacity you are able.

“There is no present like the time.”