17 Years Old at Diagnosis
Patrick was a normal 17 year-old high school senior when he was diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkin t-cell lymphoma in September, 2006. After two months of treatment, Patrick’s immune system was depleted and he developed a fungal infection that is usually fatal. Fearing the worst, Patrick’s doctors and nurses were able to treat the infection and Patrick resumed his cancer treatment. Patrick endured over 5 cycles of chemotherapy, 4 surgeries including a lung biopsy, along with more than 10 procedures, and two weeks of radiation. It was a long road, but worth it. Since January, 2009, Patrick has been in remission!
Throughout treatment, Patrick just wanted to be normal. He worried about how his classmates would react to his cancer diagnosis, but found solace in his wrestling teammates who became a second family. And, as “normal” kids do, Patrick graduated from high school on time! Because he was still in treatment after high school, Patrick decided to attend his local community college in order to remain close to home. Though it took him 5 1/2 years to graduate, this year, he did just that and his family and friends could not be more proud.
“Many times during treatment I felt alone, like there was nobody else out there that I could talk to that had experienced any of the feelings or thoughts I had as a teenage cancer patient”, Patrick explains. “One of the hardest feelings to deal with was feeling alone; and my goal is to make sure that no other childhood or teenage cancer patient ever has to feel alone again.”
Patrick is passionate about helping other cancer patients, and spends his free time volunteering at organizations like The Sunshine Kids Foundation, the Friends of Scott Foundation, and the Jesse Rees Foundation as well as sharing his story at local high schools and events. For more information on how you can get involved in your local community, visit www.curesearch.org/Get-Involved.