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Twenty-Five Years of Firsts

On September 26, 1989, I was less than a month into my awesomely laid out senior year of high school. I was class president, I'd already been accepted to the college of my choice - the University of Missouri to study broadcast journalism - and my class schedule was the envy of my friends. I had two full hours of music, an hour of "honors" study hall (I could actually leave school to "study"), and I proctored a class, meaning that I had just three hours a day of actual real work.

But on September 26, 1989, at about 3:15pm, every bit of that fun, relaxed, and memorable final year of my youth was wiped clean. That's when I was told that I had cancer.

Most of you know the story that follows. Or if you don't, you can read all about it on the rest of this website. Or in my book, Heart of Iron. So I'm not going to rehash those details now. It's not why I am writing this. Because today isn't about what I went through to get here, twenty-five years later. It's about being here, in this place, in this life, and recognizing that absolute blessing of that.

And it's not just my blessing. It's the acknowledgement of the reality that we are making great progress on the road to a cure. We're not there yet. We still have lots of work to do. But people, just like me, are now living complete and full lives after they were diagnosed.

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