CANCER PICKED THE WRONG DUDE

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November 2017, my life changed forever when I was diagnosed with a fatal form of blood cancer called Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). I had no idea what it meant. All I knew is that I woke up one day, like any other, and I had a cancer that was gonna kill me in a few months. The hardest part of that day was having to tell my Mother that her son has cancer. But after a lot of tears she said to me “Caleb, we’ve got this.” And I just remember that word “we” so vividly. I remember thinking I’m not in this alone. This is a WE thing!

Over the next 5 months that little word ‘WE” became my special power. I underwent 4 rounds of aggressive chemotherapy, spending 14 of those weeks in complete hospital isolation while the chemo obliterated my immune system. The painful effects wrecked my body inside and out. At my lowest point I received daily blood transfusions and needed assistance performing basic tasks like eating and walking. But every single minute of my treatment, I had an army of support behind me. My fiancé, my mother, my nurses, doctors, friends, family, social workers, and donors: we were all soldiers battling for my survival. On March 20th 2018, I was given a life-saving bone marrow transplant from an anonymous donor in Germany that matched my DNA. The science still mesmerizes me!

I’ve been a runner for as long as I can remember but honestly took that for granted. During treatment, I missed it so much, I fantasized about one day running races to fight cancer. Once I was able to walk on my own again, I hobbled around those hospital halls to the point the nurses nicknamed me “Track Star”. True story.

Six months after my transplant, I ran my first half marathon on behalf of LLS. It was surreal seeing so many survivors and selfless people coming together. I've done a lot races over the last few months, even finishing the LA Marathon just days after the 1st anniversary of my transplant. Now running and training are part of my daily ritual. Every run reminds me of my survival.

Even though I’m cancer-free, there is still a chance that I may relapse one day. So I made a promise to make the most of every day. As long as I’m alive, I want to help save as many cancer fighters as I can. I want to inspire others to join my fight. And when my day comes, however it does, I’m gonna look back and feel proud knowing that cancer picked the wrong dude.