Kirk Nelson via Crowdrise
March 24, 2012
I 2 Y - I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation Inc wrote -
70,000 Americans between 15-39 are diagnosed with cancer each year. That's one every eight minutes. This is not OK!
The OMG! Cancer Summit is the premiere oncology conference and social networking event for the young adult cancer movement. A program of the I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation, the OMG! Cancer Summit, now in it's 5th year, has become a pivotal healthcare event that inspires thousands of survivors, cargivers and providers—along with scores of academic, advocacy, research and support organizations—to get organized, build community and unite as one to drive change.
My name is Kirk Andre' Nelson. I was born and raised in Caroline County, Virginia however now I call Atlanta, Georgia my home. I have been afforded great opportunities in my short life. I am the first in my family to graduate from college. Also, I am the first in my family to live on both coasts of the United States. I have lived in Richmond, Virginia; Los Angeles, California; Washington, D.C.; and Atlanta, Georgia. Part of the reason I have been blessed, to see the country in the way I have, is due to the ambition of my beautiful wife Crystal. She has been there for me when no one else was around. In many ways, I believe it was her who prayed for me when I could no longer muster the strength. My wife has also blessed me with a wonderful daughter, Jordyn. Jordyn is truly a light in a world of darkness. It is her uncanny view of life and wisdom that keeps me going day by day.
In March 2002, at the age of 22 I was diagnosed with a rare cancer, which had invaded my brain, hemangiopericytoma. At the time, there was very little research of this disease. In fact, my doctors and I weren't the only people who hadn't heard of this cancer. We could only find evidence of 78 people in the world living with the disease at that time. There were no reports or studies about the cancer, setting me up for a life being the proverbial guinea pig. It is now February 2012 as of this writing and I have endured much. The cancer has come back and attacked my bones. I have mets all over my body. I have been on harsh chemotherapy and radiation treatments. From June 2010 through June 2011 I was in surgery at least every 2 months. As soon as I would heal from one surgery it was on to the next. I have had a rod put in my leg; my entire hip replaced, ribs removed; cement put in my spine; various tumors removed; and two metal rods put down the length of my spine because one of my vertebrae had to be removed.
Although, I have endured much trail and tribulation in my short life, the support I receive from my wonderful wife and the rest of my family along with my strong faith have helped me continue the fight. I believe that God has an important plan for my life otherwise he wouldn't have trusted me with such a large burden. I believe I have been enlightened to part of his goal for my life. The "I 2 Y: I'm too young for this cancer foundation" brings to light and finds solutions to many of the issues I have been dealing with since I found out I have cancer 10years ago. Problems that are unique to young adults that most people including my doctors take for granted. Things like, taking care of my family when I can't work, I am too young to retire. Or, dealing with fertility issues or caring for a spouse who has cared so much for me at such a young age. People fighting cancer in my age group are largely forgotten and the "I 2 Y cancer foundation" has helped so many not only live with cancer but it has helped many cancer survivors live life.