Survivor Spotlight: Patrick O’Connor

Patrick O'Connor UW – Seattle Computer Engineering, minor in Physics Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia survivor

      Patrick O’Connor
            UW – Seattle
  Computer Engineering,                    minor in Physics
           ALL survivor

Life was good – really good – for Patrick in his final semester of high school. As a senior he already earned 75 college credits and was on the cheer squad at Eastern Washington University. School was winding down and with college on the horizon Patrick decided to look for an internship at a tech startup. That day, his life changed: “Instead of an internship and preparing for college, my next summer consisted of chemo, spending my 18th birthday signing release forms, losing hair, and not being able to attend graduation.”

All of the plans that Patrick had worked so hard to achieve seemed to slip from his grasp when he fainted at that tech fair and learned that he had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and necrotizing fasciitis in his left arm. Cancer broke in to mar and destroy, in the midst of so many milestones and celebrations, no less. Instead, Patrick faced cancer with his near-usual drive and enthusiasm that always served him so well in cheer and academics. “Cancer,” he says, “has taught me that contentment is essential to happiness.” Patrick focused on people’s generosity and caring attention on him in his time of need. Even as he continues to undergo treatment, Patrick is attending school and hopes to eventually design hospital software or research cancer in order to help and bring hope to others victimized by cancer.

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