Our Story

From Gavin:

Our youngest co-founder’s chemo ended poorly, but there is more to his story

My name is Gavin Shamis. I was diagnosed with leukemia when I was 8 years old and started three and a half years of daily chemo. I did my best to stay active while on treatment. Two and a half years in, my liver was failing due to the chemo and my treatment was ended early. Eleven months later, I was named to the USA Luge Junior National Development Team. I am now training for the 2022 Olympics.

The years of treatment were long and brutal. I looked for role models who beat cancer as kids and went on to do great things, but we could not find any. They told me what I could not do, but I wanted to know what I could do and then did it. There was no need to focus on the negative. Cancer leaves kids damaged, but for me, these are challenges to overcome. For most of us, there is no reason to give up , we just have to try harder and smarter.

If it were not for luck of timing and opportunity, I could easily be dragging at the back of the pack, giving up after each of the many setbacks. Now, two years after my last chemo, my legs still do not function properly and I am lucky to be doing rehab. Most kids don’t even know they can be helped.

A few months after making the luge team, I met Bryan Fletcher, the US Nordic Combined National Champion, who also had leukemia when he was a kid. We decided we wanted every kid who survived cancer to have the opportunity to thrive.

With our work and your support, this is going change. That is why we created ccThrive.

I am Gavin Shamis and I am redefining what it means to survive childhood cancer.