DFW customer service agent Michael Leyton was just 13 years old when he was diagnosed with cancer.
“I remember thinking, ‘Why is this happening to me?’” he says. “I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and felt like the world around me came crashing down.”
Several months of chemotherapy treatment defeated the cancer, and he remains cancer-free to this day. But Michael’s story wasn’t over. A year after his own ordeal, Michael’s sister, Joanna, became ill. She was soon diagnosed with leukemia. It was a devastating blow to the family.
“Nothing prepares you for this,” he says. “Cancer doesn’t care about your plans. It doesn’t care about your race, religion or beliefs. It attacks us all the same.”
Despite two years of treatment, she needed a bone marrow transplant to recover. An exhaustive search for a donor revealed no viable candidates until a doctor suggested Michael get tested as a match. Being a cancer survivor himself, donating bone marrow was previously thought impossible. But Michael and his family decided to take the risk. His test came back. He was a perfect match.
After years of treatment, Michael and Joanna are successful survivors. They both work as customer service agents at DFW along with their mother.
When asked about his experience, Michael says, “Miracles do happen … Hope can still be found. I used to wonder, ‘Why me?’ But now I understand that it was all for opportunities like this. We have the opportunity to change the outcomes of people’s lives by telling our story.”