National Cancer Survivor Day: An Interview with Liam
Meet Liam Goldstein Cross:
- Can you walk us through your personal story?
At 13 years old, days before my freshman year of high school I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). I missed that entire year of school, going in and out of the hospital. I underwent about three and a half years of treatment as I was high risk due to my age. ALL Leukemia is most common in young children.
- How did this diagnosis affect you physically and mentally?
The diagnosis was hard on me both mentally and physically. I did almost no exercise during this time and was extremely out of shape due to lack of energy and general pain. Sports were also taken from me as I was too out of shape to be competitive. Mentally, it was the hardest thing I have been through. From a lack of social interaction, to not knowing what my outcome would be, it is still hard to this day knowing that a relapse is possible.
- What kept your spirits up during treatment?
My friends and family were the best support system I could have ever asked for. During my first 28 days in the hospital, I had at least one visitor every day! Without them being there for me, I don’t know how I would have been able to cope. Other things that helped me get through this tough time and keep me sane included watching my favorite sports teams and The Food Network.
- Can you describe what it was like when you were told your cancer was in remission? How did you feel?
After the first 28 days in the hospital, my cancer was in remission. Although this was a huge relief that the chemo had done its job, I still had a long road ahead of me, about 3 and a half years of maintenance therapies to make sure the cancer cells could not reproduce. The day I finished treatments was one of the best days I have had. Seeing all the nurses and family members that had gone through this journey with me watched me ring the bell as I exited the hospital; it was pretty overwhelming. As a 17-year-old kid who had already gone through (hopefully) the biggest medical feat of my life, it was tough to see the strain that this had also put on my family.
- How has this experience affected your life moving forward?
I think this is something that will affect me forever. Although I didn’t become a doctor or work in the medical field, I always knew I wanted to do something that was meaningful towards helping other people in a situation similar to mine. AeroSafe Global seemed to be the perfect fit for me. I get the chance to work for a company who ships lifesaving therapies for some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world. So, although not on the front line, I feel as though I am making a difference in the world.
- Do you have words of advice to anyone currently going through cancer treatment?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether emotionally or physically, it is super important to have people you trust by your side the whole way through. Also, take advantage of every benefit there is. One of the biggest things that lifted my spirit was looking at places to take my Make-A-Wish trip to. In some of my darkest days, this is how my mom lifted me up and kept me sane. (I ended up taking a trip to Bora Bora with my family!)
- What does National Cancer Survivor Day mean to you?
National Cancer Survivor Day, to me, means a day where we can celebrate all the amazing people who have gone through a similar experience as me, as well as all the great people who dedicate their lives to helping others.