On February 29, 2020, Daniel was handed some devastating news from his doctor. He had an aggressive blood cancer named acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and had to begin treatment immediately to stop its rapid progression. That same day, Daniel celebrated his daughter’s sweet 16.
In March 2020, Daniel left his job and was admitted to Rush University Medical Center to start chemo. A week later, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, closing down hospitals to visitors. “For months, it was just me and my medical team. I wasn’t able to kiss my wife or three kids for a long time,” Daniel said.
Daniel spent the next five months in the hospital undergoing aggressive chemo. “My body was pretty torn up. I was in bad shape. I just had to put my trust in my medical team. My doctor, Dr. Mohammed Hussain, and I became very close. He was phenomenal and really helped me through this crazy diagnosis,” Daniel said.
In July of 2020, Daniel underwent a stem cell bone marrow transplant to treat his AML.
“After being out of work and spending the majority of 2020 in the hospital, there was a lot of financial pressure. Insurance is very expensive, and you have all these added expenses. That financial stress gets to you. I’m so thankful to the Leukemia Research Foundation. The financial help you provided relieved some pressure so I could focus on being with my family and getting better physically.”
Today Daniel is in remission. When we spoke with him for this story, he was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on his first family vacation since the diagnosis. Daniel’s positivity through this life-changing experience is truly admirable.
“I’m 37 years old, and I have a lot to live for and a lot to fight for. You don’t expect this random curveball to be thrown at you this early in the game of life. It’s hard not to fold and crack and give up. You need to stay in the right state of mind. You just need to stay positive.”
Special thanks and recognition
Daniel would like to thank and recognize Dr. Hussain, Celalettin Ustun, MD, the director of oncology, and the entire bone marrow transplant team at Rush University Medical Center for their hard work in saving his life and for answering all of his family’s questions.