Who would have thought that almost five years ago, I would be here to share and tell you about my journey, my battle, and what is now the story of my life. Let me start off by introducing myself, my name is Stefan Pietrobono, I am 22 years old, an athlete, a recent Kinesiology graduate from the University of Toronto, a current MBA candidate at the Odette School of Business. And, I am a Cancer Survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 3B. I can certainly tell you that I am most definitely a changed and different person today than I was almost 5 years ago, Cancer has changed my life.
My battle for my life was a challenging 9 and a half months filled with constant trips to the hospital, chemotherapy (at Sick Kids) and radiation sessions (at Princess Margaret Hospital), multiple existing side effects, shearing pain, and no doubt an obstacle that I was forced to deal with.
But in life there are obstacles that are thrown your way and you are forced to overcome. Some of these obstacles can be hard; some may be upsetting, while others might even be dark or tough. As a 17-year-old the last thing on my mind was facing a cancer diagnosis. Oftentimes, I started to think . . . Why me? What’s going to happen? Or, will I see tomorrow? Mixed emotions running through my body trying to cope with the unknown and this life threatening diagnosis, what seemed to me like an uphill battle, where I always found myself wondering when this nightmare would be over? I was numb.
However, there is light at the end of every tunnel. This is how I viewed my battle and faced it. There were many people behind me, supporting me, and inspiring me. Friends, family, and coaches who gave me the strength and push to continue fighting, to eventually beat this disease. The ordeal has definitely changed my life, and helped shape me into the person that I’ve become today. Having cancer has opened my eyes to the true meaning of life and helped me appreciate every day to its fullest. I consider myself very lucky in a world that is so unfair. You see life can be taken from you in a second - it’s a harsh truth to face in this reality we live in. Live a life you love - and love the life you live!
I would like to close by saying be positive and refrain from the negative. Although this can be a pretty hard statement to live by, especially because life can sometimes be difficult to see the good and positive in every situation. At the time we might not understand why it's being put in our lives, but there will come a time where our eyes will open to the reasons they've happened.
“A man fears where he has not been before, something he has not experienced”
- Stefan Pietrobono
Everything we encounter in life, every obstacle, every person, and every moment is what constructs and makes you who you are and who you become. Embrace it and own it. Create your own destiny - by believing in yourself that you can and you will! Think big thoughts, and relish the small simple pleasures. Live in the moment rather than in the past or worrying about the future. Because everything that happens in this life will happen for a reason!
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”
- Soren Kierkegaard
I have recently launched my own initiative called “Live To Inspire”, taking everyday as it comes and living it to the absolute best of your ability. Creating positivity, awareness, leadership, and inspiration among others to channel the “Power of Me”, the very power we all possess deep down inside us. It can shape your life in ways you’ve never imagined, it can impact those around you . . . And it can most definitely inspire the world in which we live in!
Be the creator to your own story. Every chapter you write is a footprint on the page in the direction you travel, continuing your journey in the story called LIFE!
Live a life full of passion, a positive mind, a good attitude, and the routine of never giving.
Live To Inspire: