“ B.strong. Never, never, never give up.
Bernard Llave is a mAss Kicker that encourages everyone to b.strong! Bernard has used his experiences to encourage others and created the b.strong movement. His involvement with Cross-fit and living a healthy lifestyle were large factors in his road to recovery! B.strong’s mission is to educate the public about Leukemia and provide information on becoming a bone marrow donor, grant temporary financial assistance to low-income leukemia patients and their families, and host sporting events in local communities. We were fortunate to catch up with him and ask him a few questions.
mK: Thanks for doing this Bernard! What/ when was your diagnosis?
BL: I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia on 8/11/2012
mK: How did you find out about your diagnosis? What were your symptoms?
BL: I had extreme fatigue, fevers and night sweats. It presented with a wisdom tooth infection that never healed after extraction.
mK: Why are you so involved in cancer advocacy? Why did you start the b.strong movement?
BL: I believe that I survived because of my great support group. I do not want anyone else to go through what I have gone through. B.strong is a way I can help others by paying it forward.
mK: What motivates you?
BL: Striving to be a better person and inspiring others motivates me.
mK: When was the first time you felt like yourself after your diagnosis?
BL: It was nice to be able to complete a 5k obstacle run almost 5 months after my bone marrow transplant.
mK: Pretty cool! What makes you laugh, cry, angry?
BL: I don’t really get angry. Watching Three’s Company makes me laugh. Seeing people fight cancer makes me cry.
mK: What was the toughest challenge you faced as a survivor? How did you overcome it?
BL: The toughest challenge I have faced as a survivor is realizing that my life will never be the same. I had to adjust to the “new normal”.
mK: Finding that “new normal” is not easy. Change of pace… What is your guilty pleasure?
BL: I love chips!
mK: HAHAHA! Random question time… If you had to pick an animal that best describes your personality, what would you choose and why?
BL: I took a quiz on FaceBook. I got the bear. This is what it said:
“The Great Bear is found on every continent, in nearly every color. The magic of the Bear is extremely powerful and healing for others. Like the Bear, you have limitless strength. You are a guide for others on the river of life.”
mK: OK, lets dig a little deeper… if you were a Care Bear who would you be? j/k HAHAHA… you don’t have to answer that… What do you like to do in your spare time?
BL: I enjoy being active. Running, crossfit, anything physical. Also, I enjoy volunteering at a variety of events.
mK: Staying active is a great way to fight these diseases and “thrive” after an intimidating diagnosis! What are you up to now?
BL: I went back to work at FedEx Express and am working on the b.strong movement.
mK: Good luck! Any advice for people or loved ones that get daunting diagnoses?
BL: Never, never, never give up.
mK: Tell us something about yourself that people probably didn’t know… anything.
BL: Most people don’t know that I have competed in the National Truck Driving Championships in 2002, 2006, and 2010.
mK: AWESOME! Any parting words for all the mAss Kickers?
BL: Survivors Rule!
Bernard Llave: Superstar truck driver, fitness advocate, “Care Bear” hugger, snack chip addict, Physically active guy, leukemia thriver, and all-around cool guy! Thanks for doing the interview Bernard! Looking forward to seeing what else is up your sleeve! Check out the b.strong movement on facebook!