This month, we feature a post Kyle Javer, a self-described optimist, a college student at Cal State University, a fisherman, a video game enthusiast, a car lover, and a childhood cancer survivor. Kyle discusses why he is using his voice to advocate for kids with cancer and what motivated him to launch a chapter of With Purpose in his community.
You’ve told us that you’re a childhood cancer survivor. Can you tell us about your diagnosis, what your treatment experience was, and what life has been like in remission?
I was diagnosed October 22nd of 2015 with Medulloblastoma. I was a normal kid, just going to school when one day my neck started hurting me. Everything moved so fast, I had no time to process what was going on. It was so overwhelming. One day I was going to school and working on homework and then next day I was lying in a hospital bed, not sure what the future was going to be.
When you do treatment, you see the same walls. You see the same pictures. You see the same white paint everywhere. You hear the beeping of all the machines. You hear the nurses running around. You hear the clicking of the computers as they are typing in what medicines you’re taking, the dripping of the IVS. You hear the beds creaking. You smell the beach and the Clorox and all the chemicals.
You’re always hoping that you’re going to wake up and feel like yourself again. That you’re friends are going to look at you how they used to. That you’re going to be able to walk down the street without anyone noticing the scars.
Finding out I was in remission was incredible. When you first start treatment, it’s that light at the end of the tunnel. As treatments go on that light gets pretty dim. It goes from the sun that is going to indefinitely rise over the horizon to being a star that’s trillions of light years away.
How did you hear about With Purpose?
I heard about With Purpose my first semester back at school after I finished treatment...and I was like this is something I have to be a part of. Everyone wants to feel like they are going to leave their mark on the world. I think that joining With Purpose gives you a real opportunity to help make a good change in the world. You have a tangible chance to change the world for the better.
I think what makes With Purpose special is the people. Everyone is a part of With Purpose because they truly want to help. You can feel the passion and the love from everybody. I am excited about the future of With Purpose because I believe that together, there’s nothing we can’t do. I believe that we will be able to find new treatments, that we will be able to have a positive impact on millions of people’s lives.
How do you think being a childhood cancer survivor impacts your overall With Purpose experience?
Being an older survivor allows me to really connect with people and give them a better idea of what treatment is like. I can really paint a picture of what childhood cancer looks like. It’s not a few months of being uncomfortable. It’s not a little inconvenience. It’s significant. It’s just as bad as adult cancer and it needs to be taken as seriously.
I hope that in 5 years, we are on the cusp of a breakthrough that will end cancer as a whole. That will we understand cancer in way we never could have imagined. That we are about to solve the riddle of cancer itself.