Steve Ellens is the assistant men’s basketball coach,athletic-academic liaison and director of sports marketing here atSimpson College, but one more thing sets Ellens apart from otherfaculty and staff members – at 28 he was diagnosed with ChronicMyelogenous Leukemia.
Ellens is an optimist, but his first thoughts after beingdiagnosed with CML, a type of blood cancer, were, “Oh my God, I’mgoing to die.”
Ellens claimed after realizing this, and literally facing hismortality, he has learned the importance of appreciating life andfamily. He realized nobody lives forever and there really isn’ttime to waste.
“With any kind of challenge like this, the first thing you haveto say is, ‘I am going to survive,'” Ellens said.
Ellens’ family helped support him. His wife, brothers, parents,and in-laws all worked together to learn more about the disease andconstantly encouraged Ellens.
“My wife is one of the strongest, most positive people I know,”Ellens said. “She makes me feel so much hope.”
Ellens is currently in remission and leading a healthy, activelife.
He is involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society andparticipates in its fund-raiser, Light the Night. Light the Nightis an annual two-mile evening walk to raise money, increaseawareness about leukemia and support survivors and theirfamilies.
Last year Ellens’ team, family and friends raised $5,000 tosupport research and patient services provided by LLS. This yearhis team will walk again at the event, which will be held Saturday,Sept. 25.
Ellens’ positive outlook on life hasn’t changed a lot sincebeing diagnosed. He believes life is a privilege and it should beused to serve others.
He said, “I think it is our purpose to serve others and makethem happier.”