By Donna Furey | LB Indy
Laguna Beach resident Stephan Chapman had just started a new job and was settling into a new apartment when he was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma last January.
The 25-year-old’s goals, such as returning to Saddleback College and enjoying surfing, immediately changed.
Without medical insurance and unable to work, friends of Chapman’s mother rallied around the family and organized an event that raised $16,000 to help with medical bills. About 100 people attended the fundraiser, which included donated auction items, refreshments from local restaurants as well as entertainment.
Today, after enduring “a very rough six months of my life” medical treatment at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Chapman said doctors have told him is prognosis is good. “I feel great and I’m stoked on life.” Keeping a positive attitude was essential to his recovery, he said.
His grandmother, Darlene Chapman, agreed that without his “youthful optimism” it would have been even harder to endure the treatments followed by the the week-long hospital stays for follow-up testing. Hospital staff, “even brought a bed into his room for his girlfriend,” who was able to spend the most time with him during chemotherapy, the grandmother said.
Chapman’s days are now taken up with physical fitness, exercising at the Art of Fitness gym, surfing and fishing with his father and brothers, he said.
He has since obtained medical insurance and again plans to enroll at Saddleback College in spring.
He is quick to deliver gratitude, counting off friends, family and health care providers. “Overall this whole experience made me realize how short life can be and to take full advantage of every minute and also how blessed we all are to come from such an amazing and supportive community.”
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