A Survivor Helps Fund the Fight for Others
Stephen Doughton had always been an active, healthy child. He grew up playing Little League baseball, and at Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, he joined both the basketball and track teams.
Unfortunately, things began to change during his sophomore year.
He began to notice a lack of energy at practices and at games. Finally, when he fell asleep during gym class, his mother took him to the hospital. Later that night, Stephen was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Looking back on the events of his diagnosis, he says the hardest parts were seeing his family upset and not being able to play basketball, his favorite sport.
Even though his diagnosis meant that he could no longer play, Stephen decided to make the best of his situation
While undergoing treatment at Wake Forest Baptist’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, Stephen noticed children even younger than he who were struggling with the same disease. He felt a familiar desire to contribute something positive and decided that he wanted to give everything he had to making a difference in the lives of these cancer patients—and those of the future.
“All I knew was to give everything I had and that’s what I do every day.”
At the family dinner table, Stephen proposed an idea to his parents: He wanted to start a foundation to support leukemia research. Stephen had been impressed by the dedication his physicians gave to finding a cure for CML. He had also learned that if research was not financially supported, a cure would not be found. In 2008, he founded the Stephen Doughton Jr. Foundation to support leukemia research at Wake Forest Baptist and around the country.
Today, Stephen is 24. His cancer is in remission, and he doesn’t feel like he’s missed out on anything. Cancer changed his life, so he used it to change others’ lives. He continues to give back as the associate director of basketball operations at his college alma mater and as a member of the Cancer Advisory Group at Wake Forest Baptist. Always an optimist, Stephen believes that a cure will be found and reminds us all, “If you set a goal, you’re more likely to achieve it.”
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