Our growth as individuals is directly tied to learning to face and overcome the challenges that life inevitably presents us with. With every obstacle we encounter, we have to simply choose between two courses of action:
Fight or Flight.
Not every fight may appear to be a battle we can win, especially when we recognize that the odds are stacked against us. It takes a great deal of courage and determination to beat the odds.
I had just completed my Master’s Degree and the early seeds of DEAFINE had been planted in the Fall of 2020. A great deal of planning, financing, and coordination had gone into ensuring that this socially driven brand would be ready for launch that Winter, however, just as we were on the verge of unveiling DEAFINE to the world, issues with the supply chain forced our merchandise to be delayed. We thankfully had our masks at DEAFINE HQ, something that could be sold and help make a meaningful difference in our current situation, but our vision had to shift until we could truly launch a full clothing line.
Amidst this confusion, I had been suffering from pain and inflammation in my left knee. I had initially associated it with a sports injury because, with my history playing basketball, volleyball, and soccer, I had grown accustomed to treating and recovering from knee injuries. It wasn’t until the Spring of 2021 that some bone scans on the recommendation of my family doctor lead to a much more serious prognosis than anyone could have anticipated. A series of tests revealed that I had Stage-4 non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which had originated from within my femur and was the cause of that pain and swelling I was dealing with. Needless to say, my health and well being had become my number one priority and DEAFINE had to be shelved until further notice.
The past two years have been very challenging. I was able to take on my journey of recovery with the help and support of my loved ones. We gradually made adjustments to our lives and I took on what I was capable of handling through nine months of tests, chemotherapy, and radiation, all of which would have been challenging even without the complications that the pandemic created.
The three strikes of the bell is a tradition amongst cancer patients. It marks a milestone on the path to recovery, a triumphant moment for those who are done with treatment and a reminder to stay strong and push forward for patients who must continue to fight. I completed my final round of radiation on November 12 and was able to finally ring that bell. In that moment, I was in the clear to shift my attention back toward my career goals and life aspirations.
DEAFINE has now officially been online and operational for over a month and I am humbled by your support and the response our products and our mission have received. While working through the holidays, my oncologist reached out to inform me that I am officially cancer-free and can continue transitioning back into doing the things I love.
All of us have been forced to face numerous challenges as a result of this pandemic. Our “new normal” is very different to the lives we lead in the last decade and our definition of normal is constantly shifting as the science and the dialogue around this virus changes over time. The fact that you are here to support us and read our story shows that you have remained courageous through everything and have proven time and time again to be strong enough to persevere.
“Beat the Odds”
To succeed despite not having a good chance of succeeding
- Dictionary, Merriam-Webster