Fifteen-year-old Joshua Suarez was devastated when he received a cancer diagnosis.
“All I could ask was ‘why me?’” the teen admitted.
How would he finish high school, go to college, and live the rest of his life?
Joshua knew that cancer ran in his family.
His mother is a cancer survivor, and his aunt suffered sarcoma that spread into her lungs and eventually took her life.
But Joshua never expected to receive a diagnosis of his own so soon. When doctors told him he had stage four testicular cancer that was spreading to his lungs, Joshua was terrified.
“My heart sunk to the bottom of my chest when I heard the word ‘cancer.’ I didn’t know what to think, what to feel, or what to do,” the teenager said.
“It was really heartbreaking to hear, and all I could ask was ‘why me?’”
There were dozens of tumors in Joshua’s lungs and the teenager was having trouble breathing.
Doctors recommended immediate surgery and aggressive chemotherapy in hopes of destroying the cancer cells in Joshua’s body. This meant Joshua had to be kept out of school, which was a drastic life change for the teenager who had been a committed student.
It was hard not to be discouraged. “I was like that’s a death sentence,” Joshua confessed. “I really thought this is it. This is the end for me.”
Joshua didn’t know how he would make it through treatment. The road to remission seemed impossibly long, especially for someone so young.
But an encouraging reminder from his brother helped Joshua focus his eyes on God throughout his cancer journey.
“God gives his hardest obstacles to His strongest soldiers,” read the simple text message. Joshua was overwhelmed by the reminder of God’s presence and love.
“As soon as I got that text, I just knew God was with me. Whatever God has planned for me I’ll accept,” said Joshua.
“If it’s to fight, I’m fighting until the end. But if it’s not, I’m ready to go.”
Joshua found peace in remembering that God had a plan for his life and was in control of everything, even his cancer. He knew that, no matter what happened, God would give him the strength to go on.
That strength shone throughout Joshua’s cancer journey, as the teenager persevered to keep up with his schoolwork. Refusing to let chemotherapy halt his education, he tackled his high school courses and even taught himself AP Biology.
“It was a struggle,” he admitted, “but I had to do it on days that I felt good and on days that I didn’t. I’m really proud of myself that I was able to take that challenge.”
Joshua’s experience with cancer was full of challenges, but he held onto his hope in God through every new struggle. Weight loss, painful treatments, and relapses made it a difficult road, but he found out just how strong God is.
After a year and a half, Joshua was declared cancer-free! Not only that, he also graduated high school and walked with his classmates — right on time!
Graduation day was an emotional moment for Joshua. After all, he hadn’t known if he would actually make it to that day.
“To say that I’ve beaten cancer is to say what can I not beat? Going across that stage is more proof that I’ve made it,” Joshua said confidently.
God has been faithful indeed!
Joshua knows that God had a purpose in preserving his life. “I didn’t know what to do with my life before, but now I see my purpose—to serve others. I’ve gotten my second chance in life, and I want to help others have their chance too.”
Joshua is determined to dedicate his life to helping others. Having successfully graduated high school, he plans to pursue a biology degree and a career in medicine. He wants to be an oncologist so he can help others who face cancer!
His faith in God spurs him forward every day. “I now have a crazy amount of optimism that’s going to set me so far ahead in life,” he says, reflecting on his confidence in God’s plan.
Praise God for His mercy and power! Please share with us how God has shown His plans in your life!