Student fights cancer to graduate with distinction

Todd Blake with his wife
Todd Blake with his wife

Todd Blake was an ordinary young man looking forward to join campus. After joining University of Florida, he soon began to notice symptoms that after diagnosis revealed he had a cancer found in lymph tissues called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Because of the intense chemo therapy and radiation coupled with two bone marrow transplants his immunity was weakened. However, Todd’s inner strength helped him overcome the situation in the face of darkness and difficulty that could easily discourage anyone.

Todd took courage as he realized life moments become more precious in the absence of time, and Todd’s determination to walk across the stage and graduate from university was more evident.

When asked how he managed he said, “You have to be positive. If you give up on what your dreams are and your aspirations, you really just give up on living,”

To many this may seem like nothing to write home about but to Todd it was a triumphant fete likened to a man walking on the moon.

“I just kept pushing forward, thinking about that day when I would graduate and that accomplishment. It was important for me to graduate and walk across the stage. It was symbolic.”

Blake graduated with a degree in Business this year after beginning his journey in pursuit of knowledge in 2009 with a 4.0 GPA.

Aged 23, Blake not only graduated but has also began a charity called Live For Today Foundation that helps young adults cancer patients aged 18-35 to achieve their dreams despite their illness. The foundation was started in 2009 and has helped many young cancer patients achieve their wildest dreams like flying a plane or learning to ride the waves.

Todd’s determined spirit received major support from his friends and family, especially from his  father who encouraged him to pursue his dreams and his wife Maja who he knew since high school.

The bond they share has helped each get inspired with Maja now working as a cancer blood researcher at Mayo Clinic in Florida in search for a cure for the disease.

In the meantime Todd stated, “I’m trying to buy time until something comes up that can cure me. I hope the research can come up with new treatments every year so I can keep fighting.”

For now Todd lives one day at a time, living life to the fullest savoring each moment as a cancer survivor.



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