Saturday, December 16, 2006

You Never Know

You never know what tomorrow brings. Accepting that means agreeing that you have a responsibility to yourself, your family, and possibly to the world to MAKE SOMETHING of the day. Tim Harriman, 18 years old, gets that at a higher level than most of us. His story is below....

December 7th, 2006

My Story

My name is Tim Harriman and I was born and raised in Calgary Alberta. I grew up as a very competitive hockey player and was also involved in many other sports. Unfortunately on September 28th, 2002 my hockey life and dreams as a kid came to an end. On the night of September 28th, 2006, I was taken to a nearby hospital with intense pains in my stomach and even on the line of being unconscious. To the shock of my family, friends, and even myself, at the age of 14 I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a form of Cancer in the blood common among children. Within several hours I had been diagnosed, transferred to the Alberta Children’s Hospital, had more IV tubes hooked up to me then I could count, and would soon under go treatments. After settling in my new home at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, room # Q11 we soon found out more information that put my family’s faith and hope into a real test. The doctor’s had told us in order to begin treatment they would need some more tests to confirm exactly what type of cancer I had, how far it had spread, and what were my treatment options. The doctor’s had explained that if the cancer had spread to my spinal cord, it might have spread to the brain, if it had spread to the brain, unfortunately they may not be able to offer me any type of treatment. Fortunately the test results came back and my spinal cord was free of cancer cells but they discovered that the cancer was the dominate of the cells and diagnosed me with 97% cancer cells. They concluded my prognosis was poor but with a good attitude and willingness to try, I had a chance.

The Fear

I still struggle to this day to find the words to explain the fear I felt when I heard the words that I had a blood disorder classified as a type of cancer and would have to undergo 2.5 years of heavy chemotherapy and radiation. At the age of 14 I had enough knowledge as to what cancer was but was obviously unprepared when I found out I had to fight the disease. I was afraid of the pain I might face. I was afraid of surgeries, I was afraid of losing hope, I was afraid of the outcome; I was afraid of the unknown. With the support of many friends and family I had to look deep down inside myself to find the hope and perseverance to push forward and with that hope I discovered a faith inside me that was much greater then anything I’ve ever experienced. And that faith is what has brought me this far today.

The Experience

I began chemotherapy immediately after I was diagnosed by the oncology team at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and was told I would have to undergo at least 2.5 years of treatment which consisted of chemotherapy at the time and eventually doctor’s decided it would be best for me to also receive radiation which would reduce the chances of relapsing. 2.5 years eventually turned into almost 3 years which completely changed my view on life. Although I had to undergo intense pain in order to become healthy again, I also found an extreme amount of Joy despite the circumstances. And 4 years later, that joy is also what has carried me this far and be able to claim myself cancer free.


An experience that is even greater

Within my 3 years of treatment I discovered a pain that was more painful then my own battle, and that was the pain I had received when I knew I was one of the oldest children at the time at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Oncology Clinic being treated for leukemia. Every day when I walked through the doors of the cancer center, it brought a lump of pain knowing that the other patients were ages 5 to as young as 12 months old. It was painful knowing that they had to undergo the pain I had to but probably even more since there little bodies could only handle so much.

This is when I came to the conclusion that I no longer wanted to see another child have to face the pain I faced so I wanted to make an attempt at bringing life and hope back into the situation. On June 4th 2005 I began a journey of a lifetime and a dream that has become a reality. I began training with Innovative Fitness to bike across Canada for childhood cancer. After 1.5 years of planning and prepping, in June 2007 I will dip my wheel into the Pacific Ocean and begin a journey through all 10 provinces, visiting all 17 children hospitals and cancer treatment centers in hope to help in finding a cure for childhood cancer.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope it has inspired you to make a difference in lives of children who are diagnosed with cancer. If you wish to receive more information on my project or wish to donate, please contact me at:

Tim Harriman
41 Sprucegrove Cres.
Airdrie Alberta, Canada
T4B1V7

Tel: 403.948.4304
403.948.4304 (Fax)
403.803.2298 (Cell)
Email:
timharriman15@shaw.ca

.... and if you never contact Tim (which is okay) DON'T sit on this and say "nice story". DO SOMETHING to better yourself and your world. Why is it that people like Tim give back to the world after the world gives them cancer, while many of us horde our possessions after the world gives us opportunity?

Get out there... Give.

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