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Focus on the Hour-to-Hour and Day-to-Day

Brian Eckert


$1000 Winner

Say hello to Brian! Brain was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in June 2019. Brian will attend Case Western Reserve University as an English major with a minor in creative writing. Brain has served as a writer for The Observer, the CWRU newspaper. Brain worked on a project related to the risks of regular consumption of Lake Erie fish. He was able to share his finding s and research poster with the health department and community stakeholders.

" June 11, 2020, my leukemia diagnosis date, changed my life in ways I couldn’t have anticipated. I am angry and frustrated at all of the delays in completing my Case Western Reserve University Bachelor of Arts degree with an English major and a creative writing minor. I planned a December 2020 graduation. It was so difficult, but my professors were understanding about my many absences and extended due dates for me. One professor even met with me in the hospital when I felt well enough to have class. Even though I felt my work was not as good as prior to my illness, I did my best. Treatments and complications made me feel horrible. Nausea and lack of energy make me want to lie in bed and watch movies as a distraction rather than focus on assignments. I had trouble reading for long periods of time. My concentration and eyesight have both suffered from my treatments. I even got glasses which only help a little; the doctor said the steroids affected my eyes.

These frustrations continue this semester. Often I am so angry about all of the disruptions to my life. I have not attended class this semester because January was full of treatment complications.

My post-college goal is to attend graduate school for a Master of Fine Arts degree. I am not giving up on this goal, but cancer and the lengthy treatment has delayed that. Since I am only in the eighth month of a three-year treatment, I’m not sure when I can continue my education. I try not to think about the future too often rather I focus on the hour-to-hour and day-to-day. Otherwise, I feel too discouraged and angry. It’s scary to think about the short-term; I imagine too many negative situations. The long-term is even scarier. "

You got this Brian! Best of luck as you continue to strive for that degree!!

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