“My name is Richard Bodee and I’m a pediatric cancer survivor.
When I was four years old, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. For the next two and a half years, I was treated at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
The doctors told my parents my growth would be stunted. But I’m 6’4” and I played college basketball. The doctors also told my parents I might have a learning disability. But in March 2019, I graduated from DePaul University with a Master’s degree and I am now on-air reporter for the NBC affiliate in Rockford. Finally, the doctors told my parents I’d likely have long-term side effects from the toxicity of the treatments. That, I do have.
It’s always been ironic to me that the same treatments that saved my life also had consequences for my future. For years, I chose not to talk about my long-term side effects and the mixed emotions they created.
But then I realized how important it is to talk about and to acknowledge the challenges we as survivors face each and every day. However, when I wake up I remember how lucky I am to be alive and it motivates me.
It is my hope that my story serves as a reminder to everyone battling cancer or dealing with long-term effects that you don’t have to give up on your goals. Like me, you can still follow your dreams.”