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Kevin’s personal story

Kevin Lankes
I was born in New York, but moved to Central Pennsylvania at the age of three. I graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 2008, and moved to New York City shortly after. After a short career in project management, I began to focus on my lifelong dream of writing for a living. In the fall of 2011, I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma, at the age of 25. 

I proceeded to endure the coming years of treatment and coping with a terminal illness in the best way I possibly could—I was incredibly strong for the first few months (mostly for my family's sake), and then collapsed on the couch, buried beneath a snuggie, where I remained for the entirety of 2012. That year, I moved back home to my parents' house and underwent interferon treatments at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Hillman Cancer Center—a trial that tested my endurance like nothing had before, as it continued to postpone my young and considerably interrupted life. I began to make writing my focus The driving force that got me through that year was the thought that up until now I'd accomplished very little, and I might now have a very strict deadline. During my year of interferon, I was able to complete a book of short stories that's available on Amazon, and a big chunk of the memoir I would finish a few short months after treatment ended. 

I was just out of the gate when I was diagnosed with cancer, garnering a future for myself, gaining my independence, with visions of dreams turned reality and life under the sparkling lights of New York City. These days, I'm back in the city, picking up where I left off. I'm writing more and more, mostly about my experience with cancer, to increase awareness and aid in the search for a cure. I run a blog at, and you can find out more about me at

Experiencing a life-threatening illness is both a blessing and a curse. I truly believe that everyone can benefit from the life-changing perspective brought about by starting down the gates to the other side. Incorporating myself into "normal" life once again, it's helped me prioritize and understand the value of everything and everyone that crosses my path, and to go after what I want, without hesitation or excuses. Life is much too unpredictable, and our time here too uncertain, to do anything other than what makes us happy.