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Amanda

Orlando, Florida

This is my story. My name is Amanda. People call me Panda. I have always been an athlete my whole entire life. I did a lot of sports, but my love is track and field. I was 21 years old and a senior in college when my life was turned upside down.

May 08, 2010, I was diagnosed with cancer. ALL leukemia with a positive Philadelphia chromosome. This leukemia is unique because it doesn’t usually happen in my age group, and my doctors had never seen a case like mine. Still to this day, they have not seen another case like mine in my age group.

Amanda

I was scared, but my mom told me, “Everything will be ok, we are going to pray to our Heavenly Father and let everything I was feeling into his hands.” So that’s what we did!

I took chemotherapy for three and a half years (there were many bumps in the road). I worshipped, prayed, wrote notes to encourage myself, danced, sang in my hospital room and hallways as I walked. I got better!

I graduated from college while going through intensive chemotherapy. I found a job, became an assistant for Live Strong personal training group for YMCA and an assistant coach for an AAU track team, got back in shape, started grad school, went back to trying to run competitively in track and field again. Things were going great!

But during one track practice, I tripped over my feet and fell really hard. I didn’t feel good after that. I finished practice and went home. I was feeling worse when I got home. I decided to have my mom take me to the hospital.

Blood samples were taken and nothing was found, but I knew something was wrong. A week and a half went by. I tried to get back to a regular routine, but my body wasn’t acting the same. I couldn’t do what I could usually do.

I called my oncology nurse practitioner and told her something was wrong. I asked for a bone biopsy, a spinal tap, and set my appointment. I went in for the procedure and was told my results would come in a week. I got a phone call the next day, May 05, 2015 - three days short of my five-year anniversary (Doctors say that in five years if there is no evidence of disease, you are cured).

“Amanda, it has come back. You have relapsed. The same diagnosis as the first time.”

At this point, after I got off the phone and told my family, I went outside and I made up in my mind, “God, you did not bring me this far to leave me. You are not a God that lies or leaves your people. I hear what the doctors are saying, but I know what you can do. You’re the God that says, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’”

I made up in my mind that I am healed already. I’m not claiming sickness! I choose to rest my mind on God’s words (the Bible), worship, and pray. I put my total faith in God. I refused to give up!

Again, I went through intensive chemotherapy and was put on the bone marrow registry list. August 26, 2015, I did my bone marrow transplant. A stranger donated their bone marrow to me, a 100% match to me.

Three years later, I am now back to working, and back in shape. I retired from track and field, I am volunteering at Ronald McDonald House, Moffitt Cancer Center, Imerman Angels (as a mentor), and Be the Match helping others get through what I have been through. I continue to make progress.

Although I’m not in active treatment anymore, post-cancer and BMT transplant has its challenges as well. I take each day one at a time and work in my purpose God has called me to. Never give up, always fight.

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