Cody Wetzel, Burkitt’s Lymphoma

“Ask the nurses, they’ll remember me,” says 18-year-old Cody Wetzel. “I never stayed in my room and I always got into trouble. As far as I was concerned, my IV pole was a skateboard — and you know that stuff, Gak? Well, one time another patient and I smeared it all over the nurses’ station. Yeah, they’ll remember me.”

Today Cody is proud to say that he has been cancer-free for 10 years. Diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma in 1994 at age 7, he didn’t really understand the seriousness of his illness and often put up a fuss about taking his medicine. “Then one day my dad took me into a room and talked to me privately. He told me that if I didn’t take my medicine, I was going to die. He still says that was the hardest thing he’s ever done,” Cody says.

After that talk with his dad, Cody developed an attitude that he still has today. “In tough times, stay focused on the positive,” he says.

These days, Cody is a long way from MD Anderson, but he still remembers his time spent in the hospital and the three types of chemo he took. Art classes with the Children’s Art Project were a highlight of his days there and he has made his mark in art project history with eight greeting cards of his design.

The things he learned during his cancer experience have led Cody to an interest in medicine as a future. In the meantime, Cody’s interest in music, especially playing the guitar, keeps him busy.

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