Diagnosis: Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Hometown: Tigard, OR
Favorite Athlete: Ted Ligety, Russell Wilson
Nike Shoe: Nike Free 5.0 ($105.00 adult, $90 youth)
Nike Apparel: Tim's AW77 Hoody ($85.00), Nike Tim Freestyle Elite Basketball Crew Socks ($14.00)
Nike Footwear Designer: Ken Link
Nike Footwear Developer: Lori Adsitt
Nike Apparel Designer: Julia Meschter
Nike Apparel Developer: Tara Steward
Tim Haarmann had just spent a week in Washington, D.C. with his eighth grade class. Then he flew back across the country to a baseball tournament where he played five straight games. He was exhausted, but that was to be expected. That seemed normal. What wasn't expected or normal was a massive bruise that lasted ten weeks after he was hit by a pitch. And instead of rebounding with rest, Tim was becoming increasingly fatigued and weak. Then came severe nose bleeds that sometimes lasted 30 minutes. He developed a fever.
The pediatrician sent him to Doernbecher immediately, where he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, a particularly devastating form of blood cancer. Tim got sicker before he got better.
The first 10 days were the worst … they had not yet identified which anti- nausea drugs would work best for him, so he threw up a lot. By his second and third chemo treatments he only threw up a few times. He would endure 10 days of chemo, then 20 days of recovery … all while staying full time in the hospital. Mom stayed with him during the weekdays. Dad came for the weekends. His sister came once a week for a family dinner. For about six months this was the drill.
In the hospital, he read the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. He got really good at Settlers of Catan, his favorite board game. There were highs and lows. He got to eat whatever he wanted … chocolate milkshakes were probably the best part of the whole experience. The worst lows were losing other kids he had gotten to know on "10 South," his floor at Doernbecher. But while he lost people, he never lost hope. After each month stay, he got to go home for a few days, where his doctors encouraged him to get out and do things, and most of all have fun. Live life. So he did. He hung out with his friends, went to football games, and tried to get back to normal life as much as he could.
He wasn't afraid. He was just upset and disappointed to miss the beginning of 9th grade at Jesuit High School. He had planned to join the ski team; that plan was put on hold for at least a year. But he is a born competitor, and he took it all in stride. Literally. When he figured out 24 laps around the unit equaled a mile, he made it a goal to walk a mile each day. He ended up walking 53 miles, more than two marathons. He used to say he wished he had unlimited endurance. A cancer diagnosis and six months of grueling chemotherapy made him realize he could conquer anything. He completed a marathon in more ways than one. He has discovered a love for running, and a strength within himself that will carry him through his life ahead. As he flies along the wooded trails near his house he feels alive and strong and free.