Ben, lymphoma survivor

The timing couldn’t have been worse.

Just as he was starting college, Ben Teller received a diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma.

Eighteen months later he relapsed from the same disease and needed a stem cell transplant – which required him to find a new doctor and a new hospital.

“The moment I entered the doors of City of Hope,” Ben says, “I felt like a person again. As I sat with my doctor, Stephen Forman, M.D., and we discussed my diagnosis, cancer treatments and a lot of other scary stuff, I felt overwhelmed. But somehow he made cancer feel like the smallest part of our conversation and our relationship.”

Ben’s response to cancer the first time around, when he was 18, was to set up an emotional shield. He didn’t want to know too much at first; he came to view cancer as a series of tasks, something to be overcome “because it was in my way and I didn’t have a choice.”

But after the first recurrence, he put his faith in the restorative powers of City of Hope.

They not only looked after the difficult task of healing my cancer. They looked after the parts of me that needed to be tended to in order to allow the real healing to begin. Parts of me like my spirit, my sense of humor, my interests, my hopes, my desires – all these necessary components that make me who I am, which were necessary to help me get through the actual treatment, so that I could feel like a life after cancer was possible. Ben Teller

After not one but two relapses, each countered by a stem cell transplant requiring weeks at City of Hope, Ben Teller finally graduated from the University of California, Irvine. Today Ben lives his life with hope, working hard to move forward, and striving to be the voice of young adults with cancer.