Editor’s Note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn’t know they possessed. Diagnosed with leukemia at age 22, Chris Rumble was being treated in the pediatric cancer ward at Seattle Children’s Hospital when he made this viral music video of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger.”
Chris Rumble's music video at Seattle Children's Hospital went viral
Rumble was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 22
Rumble now plays NCAA Division I ice hockey
If I can help one person battling this disease, who’s fighting for his or her life, stay positive by being stronger, then my goal has been accomplished.
Finding inner strength at a time when being strong seems like such an impossibility is what can pull you through cancer.
The kids at Seattle Children’s Hospital got me out of bed on days that I wouldn’t want to. Kids are resilient. They’d knock on my door and force me out of bed. Force me to walk – with tubes in their noses, barf buckets resting on tricycle handlebars, beads of courage clinking from their IV poles.
THAT was awesome.
Every day was a lesson. It’s a lesson no one is prepared for, and ironically, you have no time to prepare. You are thrown into this, this nightmare, and within hours, your life, your plans, your goals, your future has completely changed.
My proudest moment was during a scary clinic visit when I toyed with going into septic shock. My fever spiked, and my blood pressure plummeted – never a good combination with no immune system. I was minutes away from ICU, and I don’t know what happened, but I rallied and fought, and my numbers turned around.
The most awesome moment was walking out of the hospital for the last time. Done. Never looking back.
People need to know what goes on behind the walls on the oncology floor. It’s the scariest, most wonderful place you could ever observe.
A monumental will to live. A child’s naivete. A parent’s reality, holding onto a tiny thread of hope.
These kids exude strength, and it was their courageous fight that made ME stronger. That I will never forget.