Survivor Spotlight: Al

I had the privilege of talking to Albert Young, and hear firsthand of his amazing journey.
Al was diagnosed with Cranial Edwing’s Sarcoma at age seven. Due to his diagnosis, he had to
undergo a year’s worth of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery to remove the cancer in his head.
He explains that his diagnosis was so rare, he was one of the first twenty people to be diagnosed with this specific cancer.

It all started with a small bump on his head, and after a few doctor visits and tests, the
cancer diagnosis was made. Al was forced to miss most of his school year and extracurricular
activities. When going through treatment, Al was given an overdose of
chemotherapy and radiation, causing him permanent hair loss on half of his head. The overdose also left him with high risk for heart malfunction. Albert keeps his risks in mind when living life and has adopted a healthy living style in order to keep his health risks out of sight and under control. Al explained to me that he had no real side effects from his treatment aside from the fatigue and hair loss.

Albert shared a very touching story with me about his friend, Steve Forbes. Steve Forbes
went to school with Al during his battle with Cranial Edwing’s Sarcoma. At the same time, Steve was fighting leukemia. Al expressed that nothing can make a cancer diagnosis or treatment process
easy, but having Steve there, while they both fought cancer, made it that much more
bearable. Unfortunately, Steve lost his battle with leukemia. Al shared with me that the reason
he wanted to be a part of One At A Time and do his part, was to make sure that one day, “there
wouldn’t be any more Stevens’.” He keeps Steve close to his heart and does everything he can to
keep a positive remembrance of him.

Al went on to graduate from UCLA in 2015, as an attorney. He also went to
the University of Dallas, Texas and received a double major in engineering and mathematics. Al
now runs and operates his own firm and enjoys being an attorney. He explains that running his
own firm encourages him to use a wide range of skills; coming not only from his attorney skills but those of a business owner as well.

I think a lot of the time when we hear about a cancer survivor, that’s all we hear; “cancer
survivor.” We often forget to look at that person, as a person. Or maybe we just focus on the fact
that they had cancer… and the fact that they will carry that with them forever. The truth is, they will. They will carry that experience with them forever and they will forever be a survivor, but they are also still a person, and we often don’t acknowledge that enough. Albert is a cancer survivor, but he is also a successful attorney and a successful business owner. We often hear “oh, but he’s never going to be the same” or “this is going to change everything.” And it does. A cancer diagnosis changes everything and everyone, but it is up to that person whether or not they will push forward in life, and how far they will go. Albert is a great example of the person you can be, with a cancer history. He had a cancer diagnosis, he had a treatment process to go through, he had a recovering process to go through, and then he pushed harder and became an attorney, and now runs his own business. He did all of this because Albert never forgot he was a person, and not, just a cancer statistic.

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