Age at Diagnosis: 16 (2003)
Current Age (at time of profile): 19
Sadly, Aaron Bradbury passed away on July 14th, 2004 after a courageous battle with Leukemia. His inspiration and never-give-up spirit will live on forever. Aaron was a good buddy to RTC and the following is his profile, completed during the summer of ’03.
Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador
How did you find out you were sick? What events led to the diagnosis?
Before I was diagnosed I spent about a month or so being extremely stomach sick with excruciating pains, and I found that I would fall asleep all of the time–even in the middle of a class at school I would wake up and find myself on the floor of the classroom asleep.
What year was it? What was your age at the time?
I was diagnosed on March 11th, of 2003, when I was in Grade 10.
What was your diagnosis?
I was diagnosed with leukemia, subtype AML.
What were your first thoughts when diagnosed?
My first thought I had was of what was going to happen to a relationship I was in currently at that time, but that only led to me wondering about where my life was going to journey as I was presented with a diagnosis of a life threatening illness.
How did your family react?
My family cried a lot, but for the most part they just really supported me and told me that I would get through all of this.
How did your friends react?
Ever since I’ve been sick, I’ve noticed that some friends who used to treat me like dirt, now treat me as if I’m the most important person in the whole world and that just frustrates me given the fact that I had to almost die in order to receive their caring. But when I first became ill I told all my friends at school, and they were all very sad for me, and all cried and that didn’t make me feel very good at all.
What did your treatment consist of?
Medical Side: I have no idea about my drugs because I never paid attention to it because I knew I would only make me feel sad.
Non-Medical Side: In the beginning it was very hard on me emotionally because I had to leave all my friends and go out to St. Johns by myself with my family and I did not get to see anyone for a very long period of time. Afterwards, my entire outlook is different. Everything is beautiful and I will never take my life or anything else that I am ever so kindly blessed with for granted.
In which hospital(s) were you treated?
I was treated at the Janeway Childrens Hospital in St. John’s NL, and in Toronto’s Sick Childrens Hospital
What is your current medical status?
I have been in remission since my first week of treatment.
How is life different for you now post diagnosis (physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually)?
It’s hard because I still get very tired easily, and I am not able to push myself as hard as I could before without wanting to give up and take a break.
What is/was the toughest part of your challenge?
Not being able to see any of my friends.
What is/was the best part of your challenge?
I learned the things that actually meant the most to me in my life.
What really motivated you to keep going while you were sick?
The fact that once I got through it I would be able to go back home to my friends and family.
What lessons or messages have you taken away from your experience?
Never ever, ever give up
What are your thoughts and feelings about your illness now? How have they changed since before your diagnosis?
We really need to find a cure. I didn’t think too much about it before, but now I have experienced the things that no one ever wants to. I know the pain you go through, and it needs to be stopped. I never get overcome by anything small anymore. I am able to keep my head up and push through everything knowing that things could be a lot worse.
Did you attend any support groups during your challenge?
No I went through everything on my own.
If you did not attend a support group, why?
I didn’t attend one because my health was never up high enough to permit me to do such a thing. This was my battle, and mine alone, I have gotten through it myself. I now have more confidence in my abilities that only others who have had cancer would ever understand.
How are you connected with Young Adult Cancer?
Geoff Eaton would come in and visit me and we would talk about things, some unimportant, others about my sickness, but for the most part it was wonderful because it helped to take me away from my world of sickness into one of regular conversations.