Leon Watkins

As a recovering leukemia (AML) patient, I first came to City of Hope in early 2007 after two-and-a-half years of remission from my initial diagnosis and treatment at Kaiser. With the return of the leukemia, I was in need of a bone marrow transplant and that was to be done at City of Hope.

I received my bone marrow transplant in December 2007. Those of us who are a part of that process (patients, families, medical staff) know that the road to recovery is often a difficult one. To reach the state of cured, you have to have a talented and caring medical team, a solid support team and faith. I was blessed to have all three. As a man of faith, I knew that would be my foundation to recovery.

Many who go through life-threatening experiences have a different perspective on life, a different perspective on self-worth and their overall value to their family and society as a whole. I, too, shared those self-defining thoughts. My recovery was a lengthy one, with many complications and setbacks. Over a five year period, I spent a lot of time at City of Hope with infections, pneumonia and many other complications. At one point a few years ago, I was put in a medically induced coma for some time, and had to learn how to walk and talk all over again. So to say my recovery was difficult would be an understatement.

I am so thankful to be alive and doing well today. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity of knowing the folks at City of Hope. The name “City of Hope” says it all. As a result of all the caring and skillful folks working there, I get to spend time enjoying life with my wife, my three daughters and three grandchildren. I get to share my story and experiences with others in their time of need. What an amazing blessing that is; I am forever grateful and indebted to City of Hope.