I only know 3 things about Brazil. Soccer is called futbol, a Fast and Furious movie was filmed there and supermodel Gisele Bündchen lived there before she married Tom Brady. So naturally, when the Swedish-Brazilian actor Fabian Bolin @FabianBolin followed me on Twitter, I had to dig deep to find something to talk about.
"Hey, if things don't work out between Tom and Gisele, can you get me her number?" It was the best I could come up with. Fabian responded with a laugh and kindly played along.
We really didn't have much in common at the time other than our backgrounds in finance. He was an international up-and-coming actor in his late twenties and I was somebody pretending to be somebody else on Twitter. However, everything changed two months ago with one tweet.
After reading Fabian's tweet, my thoughts wandered to a dark day in my life over 30 years ago. I found myself walking down the hallway towards the principal's office. I was 8 years old. My mind was racing, what had I done? I don't remember being bad. Why would the principal want to talk to me?
After nervously waiting for what seemed like hours, the principal was ready to see me. The message was short and odd. Instead of walking home after school, I was to go to my aunt and uncle's house. I asked why but there was no response.
My aunt and uncle were very kind and always seemed happy to see me but something was different today. I again asked why I couldn't go home but they wouldn't answer. They said my father would be picking me up later that night. Again, I waited for what seemed like an eternity. I kept staring out the window hoping every pair of headlights driving by was my father. Finally, lights pulled into the driveway and my father slowly got out of the car.
I don't remember how much time we sat in silence when we got in the car. As my father went to start the car he paused, looked at me and told me through many tears that my 4-year-old sister had been diagnosed with leukemia. At 8 years old I didn't know what leukemia meant but I knew it was bad. I asked if she was going to die and he replied that he didn't know.
After 6 years of chemo, surgeries, spinal taps, my sister made a full recovery. To this day, she still struggles with social anxiety and will most likely never be able to have children. It's not fair.
(Video Credit: https://www.YouTube.com/c/FabianBolinLeukamiaWarrior)
On August 6, 2015, Fabian uploaded a video to his YouTube account with a small caption at the end of the description, "The day before this, I didn't know I had cancer." The caption was real to me. I questioned several times, what if it was me? What if tomorrow, I found out that I had leukemia? Again, the memories of finding out my sister had cancer resurfaced.
As part of his battle, Fabian started a blog titled "Fabian Bolin War on Cancer." The blogs daily posts are raw and insightful. They describe his life-threatening journey's highs and lows in great, honest, detail. In his own words, here are his thoughts on his first day of treatment:
Fabian Bolin War on Cancer - Day 1
Today I have completed my first chemo therapy session and I have several more to come. I have been told that the treatment will affect my energy levels and destroy my immune system. There is a risk that I will not survive.
I feel so utterly sad and confused right now. I feel like it's unfair that I should have to go through this hell of a treatment, after fighting so hard to reach this stage in life and be on the cusp of fulfilling my acting dreams. But, I will not give up; I'm going to push myself through this in order to be able to continue to live the life that I love so much!
While I do not yet know how I will spend my days over the next couple of months, I have decided that I want to share my story and my fight with all of you. I'm going to write about the treatment, take photos and videos (yes, I will go bald), and tell you how I feel. Hopefully I can inspire some of you to really value and appreciate your life, and perhaps I can help others in a similar situation.
I have created a blog for this journey: Fabian Bolin War on Cancer - which can be found on www.fabianbolin.com - for anyone who is interested - feel free to subscribe to the blog and follow my fight back to life.
Through his public battle with leukemia, Fabian has connected with thousands of people around the world supporting him and thanking him for sharing his private moments. As he asks in his first blog post, I am sharing Fabian's battle with you because there is a high probability that you or someone you love will be diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer.org estimates approximately 1,658,370 people will be diagnosed with cancer this year. For someone who has recently been diagnosed with cancer, Fabian's blog will help you feel like you are not alone. For those of us with friends and family battling cancer, it will help provide insight, understanding and compassion.
God speed Fabian.
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