Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Illinois Chapter: Patient Profile
Client: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Illinois
Sample: Patient Profile
“Life is so precious, and sometimes when we are in good health we take it for granted. We don’t appreciate our life until we are forced to.”
By Steven Ponton
At age 9
Name: Steven Ponton
Address: South Holland, IL
School: McKinley Elementary
Diagnosis: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
(Steven and his mom Cheryl participated in this interview together.)
How did you react when you were diagnosed?
Steven: I felt really depressed, sad. I said that we’re going to just have to work with it. My family was scared too. We were all real scared. My mom was scared the most, scared of the unknown.
What gave you strength?
Steven: Jehovah, our God. And my family helped me get through it. When I got depressed, my mom would talk to me and give me comfort, so I could go through with it.
Cheryl: Family and friends took turns coming to the hospital; we were never really alone. We always had a flood of people. And Steven said, “It’s kind of cool because everybody is so good to you.”
Where did you find support?
Steven: I got a laptop from Make-a-Wish Foundation. I type on it and play video games. I like The Sims.
Cheryl: The Society invited us to the Man and Woman of the Year event, and introduced
Steven to a group of people and took his picture. They’ve also been very supportive financially. And Steven, tell them about the cocktail party.
Steven: I thought it was some kind of fish, and I didn’t get any.
Cheryl: You know cocktail sauce and shrimp? He thought that’s what a cocktail party was. (Laughs) Susan Tybon at the Society has just become a friend. She helped me put things in perspective. She’s always calling in. They’re very loving and warm and caring – everyone I’ve dealt with over there.
What is your greatest challenge every day?
Steven: The greatest challenge is not giving up.
What is the best advice anyone has given you to deal with this?
Steven: Keep on praying to Jehovah. I’ll say, “Please help me Jehovah to endure what I’m going through,” and then I’ll thank him that I’m still living. I’m glad, because I get to help people who are going through this situation – with this interview.
What is the worst thing someone has said to you about it?
Steven: One boy said, “Ooh, you look ugly bald.” I ignored him. My friend talked to him. He said, “It’s not cool to talk about people who have cancer and right now, Steven is going through a lot so please don’t talk about him.” I was glad that he explained it to him.
If you could say anything to someone without the disease, what would you say?
Steven: That if you ever go through this situation, come to me and I’ll comfort you. If you ever see a cancer patient, try to comfort him, because he or she’s going through a lot. Even though they look happy, really it’s hard on them. I know it because I went through it, and it’s hard on me. Try to make them laugh. Just saying, “you’re going to be all right” is not really going to comfort them. People say that to me, and that doesn’t comfort me. You have to put more into it. You have to spend time with somebody. You’ve got to talk to them, or play video games with them, and if you can, give them a little gift like a Teddy bear. And I’d say I hope you don’t ever go through this, and that you stay well.
Steven died less than a month after this interview was published.