I went for a routine check up when I was 26 years old in 2016. Part of that was a CBC panel. 5 days later I got a call from a frantic nurse, “We need you to come in right now.” Over the coming days I would be hospitalized at the Cedars-Sinai where Dr. Lill would explain that I was being Diagnosed with CML.
In the months to come I would spend in a dark depression but when confronted by a new government that wanted to rip away healthcare rights for poor people like me I would join thousands of activist to defend healthcare protections. I would end up working with some of the most powerful elected leaders in the country to save the Affordable Care Act that was saved by margin of one vote in the Senate.
The commitment to a cause pulled me out of the bowls of a dark depression, becoming part of something much bigger than myself saved me from the isolation from CML.
Now seven years later I have devoted myself to fighting for the under privileged and the forgotten. Holding court for our self determination and dignity in spaces I could have never imagined my voice would be elevated to. Becoming an elected delegate to my state party and an officer in a local community group that is the oldest in the state of California dedicating itself to defending the rights of LGBT people. What confidence my diagnosis tried to strip me of I rebuilt my life defined by the most heroic friendships.
My name is Steven Martin and I celebrate my life on World CML Day!