Miles Levin's mom took this photo on a recent trip to New York City.
When we first met 18-year-old Miles Levin in May, he was losing his voice as a rare pediatric cancer, Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, ran wild inside his body. He was also losing his life. His doctors weren't sure he'd even live long enough to graduate on June 8.
But during his battle with cancer, Miles has been writing a blog that seems so full of life, with wit and optimism and depth, that it was difficult to imagine him not making it. People wrote Miles back from across oceans and timezones. A woman declared that her daughter had died at peace because of Miles' words. (Read a CNN profile about Miles
Last month, he blogged for CNN and said this:
"I accept what is to come, but I cannot rid myself of a deep mourning for all those experiences -- college, marriage, children, grandchildren -- that will probably never be mine to celebrate. What solace I do find is in the knowledge that I have done everything I can to transmute this terribleness into something positive by showing as many people as I can how to endure it with a smile." (Read Miles' full post: 'Whatever life we get is bonus'
After Carol Costello did a story about him on "360," Miles traveled from his home in Bloomfield, Michigan, for a check-up at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and paid us a visit. He took his picture, smiling, with Anderson Cooper. It made his blog and in his next entry he declared himself thrilled to have touched so many people and reported some good news -- the doctors had said he was doing better.
He went home to Bloomfield for more chemotherapy, hoping to extend his life. His grandmother died, of cancer, as Miles grappled with the treatments, throwing up over and over again, shivering and shaking and nodding off into a deep sleep. His mother warned us that Miles' optimistic blog was sparing us the ugliness of cancer. His cancer faded into a generalized pain, a frightening crippling pain, that enveloped his body. He rushed off to New York to see his doctors, worried this might be it. We caught up with him at the pediatric cancer center where an amusement park of games and toys fight to amuse suffering, bald-headed children with cancer. He looked so big in that colorful room.
But, again, the news was really good. They didn't know what was causing the pain, but Miles was declared healthy enough to go to prom and graduation and put off chemo long enough to enjoy those milestones. He wakes up some days feeling well enough that he has to remind himself he has cancer. He raced off in a rush to enjoy this found time, to tie a knot in a formal tie, and find a suitable coursage for his girlfriend, Robyn.
He spoke at graduation on Friday along with Bob Woodruff, the ABC correspondent who suffered crippling injuries in Iraq. Miles met Woodruff on a plane trip. They graduated from the same private school in Michigan, Cranbrook, and share the experience of having lived the best of their life on time they borrowed.
After he graduates, Miles isn't certain what to do with the diploma. He has a college acceptance, won while studying under the influence of chemotherapy and by writing a persuasive essay. But he feels like it would be too optimistic to plan for something months away.
So, instead, he is planning for tonight, when he will graduate yet again, this time as one of the Sloan Kettering teenagers that has made it through high school on cancer. There will be a small ceremony at the hospital for him and the others.
"That's going to be an interesting experience," he predicted. "We're all going to have our hats fall off our bald heads. I'd imagine it will be meaningful in it's own way. Everyone graduating knows that they've achieved a milestone that they very well could have not made it to and there's not that awareness of any sort of school of generally healthy people."
But Miles says he's certain he will blog about it and let the world know.
-- By Rose Arce, CNN ProducerEditor's note: Miles Levin's blog is hosted at www.carepages.com. To see the full blog, you must register, and then in the page search field, type LevinStory.