This is the story of Tomier:

Tomier was first diagnosed with cancer when he was only 14 years old. “Honestly, at first, I did notice a lot of changes with my everyday life – but nothing too concerning. What really brought concern was when I had a seizure. After that, everything kind of went downhill,” recalled Tomier.

In the year of 2015, Tomier was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia along with Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis, a rare genetic disorder. “I remember sitting on the hospital bed with my brother, about to meet my oncologist… [it] really shocked me to hear the word cancer for the first time,” said Tomier.

“The treatment procedures that I went through,” told Tomier, “were not too bad in my opinion. It was a five-year course with chemotherapy… in the beginning it was a lot of chemo through IV’s but later it became mostly just oral pills.” Like many of our survivors, the impact of treatment is not fully noticed until their journey is over. “Now that I think back on it, physically and emotionally it is a very, very, draining process on your body. Emotionally sometimes I would be a complete trainwreck, but I just couldn’t help myself – some of the medications had crazy side effects.”

When asked about the ways that he would manage with the emotionally difficult moments throughout his journey, Tomier said, “For me, it was very important that I always try to have a clear and positive mind. Usually, I would watch movies or YouTube, sometimes I would just play music and let the melody, lyrics, and rhythm just carry me away from the environment I was in. I think the biggest help and support was that I always had my family there with me in the hospital or the clinic.”

When speaking about support, Tomier also mentioned the importance of Candlelighters in his journey. “Candlelighters not only impacted my cancer journey, but my whole family. They have helped my parents and my siblings as well as myself. My favorite thing about Candlelighters is that they made going through treatment a lot easier because they introduced me to other kids and siblings who were going through the same things as me.”

Now that Tomier is in remission, he explained that the first thing he did when finishing treatment was, “Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I’ve been training and competing consistently for the last four years.” That is amazing, Tomier! “If I were to give advice to a younger person who is also going through treatment, I would say always keep a clear mind and always smile,” reflected Tomier, “Don’t be shy, go up and introduce yourself. Everything in life happens for a reason. Yes, this is a very unfortunate thing to happen to someone, but everything does happen for a reason.”