Fighting a blood cancer takes courage and determination. Winning the battle often inspires the patient to help others who face similar battles. Meet Fabian Bolin, a leukemia survivor, who’s determined to use social media to help improve support for, and the mental health of, those impacted by cancer.
At the age of 28, my career was skyrocketing but I always knew working at that pace would come at a price.
I was living in London at the time and had planned to return to Sweden for a few weeks to visit family and friends during the summer, so I ignored my body's complaints. In the days leading up to my departure to Sweden, my physical condition drastically deteriorated. I was sweating uncontrollably and my thigh lymph nodes were aching. Suspecting a serious bout of the flu I attributed the pain to my body telling me I was overdoing it.
Once in Sweden, the pain crept up to my chest, making it difficult for me to breathe. I knew something was wrong – I had to get myself to the hospital. After a large number of tests, I was informed that I had leukaemia. My world fell apart.
I felt so utterly sad and confused. How unfair that I should have to go through this hell of a treatment, after fighting so hard to reach this stage in life and be on the cusp of fulfilling my acting dreams.
I decided after my first ever chemotherapy session that although there was a risk I might not survive, I was not going to give up on living the life I loved so much. I decided that I wanted to share my story and my fight. That I would write about the treatment, take photos and videos (yes, I would go bald), and share how I felt. Hopefully, I could inspire some people and help others in similar situations.
Little did I know what epic journey this would take me on.
The message I wrote of my diagnosis was shared over 12,000 times on Facebook and led to over 100,000 messages, e-mails and letters of support. My blog and my story continued to be read by thousands. I recognised the power and potential of storytelling, and combining it with a strong urge to empower others affected – the idea of WarOnCancer was born.
Fast-forward to 2019 and my life has completely changed. I am no longer that party boy pursuing a career in acting. Instead I am cancer-free, humbled and living a life where I can help enrich and support those who are affected by cancer.
I am now the CEO of WarOnCancer We’ve just launched the WarOnCancer app, it’s a social networking app for patients, survivors and loved ones – a niche community for cancer. Read my next blog to find out more about the WarOnCancer app.
Fall is a wonderful time of year, bringing the excitement of the upcoming holidays, special times with family and friends, and celebrations. But for families fighting blood cancers, the patient’s treatment, and the stress the family faces, can drain the excitement from the holiday season. This is a time when kindness of others, as explained in this article in the Journal of Oncology Practice, can play a major role in cancer care. What acts of kindness can YOU do for a family fighting blood cancer?