Inspiration and motivation, Young Cancer Survivors, Article

OACCUs challenge: Roger's contribution

OACCUs challenge: Roger's contribution
Back in 2008, when I was 17 years old, I received the life-altering diagnosis of Leukemia. Until then, I had led a pretty healthy life - staying fit, cycling to school daily (covering around 10 km), and striving to eat well. As a teenager, my eating habits weren’t always perfect I guess, but overall, I felt content and enjoyed good health. I even swam regularly and competed in archery for a few years. Sports weren’t my primary focus though, but I maintained a healthy lifestyle. Cancer arrived unexpectedly, shattering my world. Like countless others, it transformed everything. Suddenly, being active, maintaining a nutritious diet, or even eating at all became a challenge—a battle for survival. The treatment was grueling, pushing me to my limits. But eventually, I emerged at the other end, free from cancer. It felt like a miracle! Yet, the end of that arduous journey marked the beginning of another. I’d call it the start of an unexpected path, one I never imagined walking. To be fair I had never imagined Cancer at all, but still…

Reclaiming life after such an ordeal isn’t straightforward. Despite having a supportive family and caring friends, processing what had happened—both physically and mentally—takes time and effort. Progress isn’t linear. Even now, I continue to navigate this intricate journey, knowing it’s a lifelong process. Nature has always been important to me. I just realized I haven't said that yet but I live in the north of Sweden. I’ve always been close to nature, I grew up in a house where the forest was just beyond our home . I’ve been skiing, both cross country and downhill, ice skating during the winters and walking in the woods in the summer my entire life.

A winter day at my family’s summer house

Me reading a book a summer day at my family's summer home

One of the most beautiful things about living in the north of Sweden is the changes in nature throughout the year. The winter is cold and brutal, but also silent and beautiful. Snow and ice changes the landscape in a unique way. Spring brings flowing water when everything melts away and nature is once again awoken from its slumber. Not just all the plants regain life but the animals appear once again as well, most notably the birds coming back from their winter homes far south. The summers are beautiful and green, full of life and warmth, with bright summer nights since the sun almost never sets. Last the autumn when nature is settling in to rest again. The birds leave and fly south. The leaves change color to yellow and red, rain and mist combined with shorter and shorter days eventually brings us back to winter. And everything begins again. So here I am, sharing my story—a testament to resilience, hope, and the healing power of nature. Life’s challenges may knock us down, but they also propel us toward unexpected beginnings. Nature, sustainability and physical activity have played a huge role in my recovery, and continue to do so. But let’s be real: I’m no stranger to temptation. Sugary treats call my name, and video games lure me indoors. Sometimes, I opt for convenience over walking or cycling by taking one of these electric scooters that popped up in my hometown recently.

Me not eating so healthy, but being happy, 4 years after my Leukemi

In 2022 I got my second cancer diagnosis. This time I had something called mesothelioma and once again the odds were against me. But thanks to brave doctors, new treatments, God's grace and pure luck I somehow made it through again. It's a long story in itself but it also meant that once again I am working on recovering. But something that inspires me to continue is some words my doctor told me way back in 2008: “We’re not just fighting for your survival; we’re fighting for your life.” Nature is life for me, travel is life, new experiences, meeting new people, eating new food, learning new things. That is the life I want to have and that means that all these things aren't just tools for me to survive, they are the goals!

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.