“…[Leon] Mitchell told ABC News he was initially “embarrassed and humiliated”
that his image, taken from a social media account, became a meme….
‘Personally, I’ve had to deal with my situation for 10 years and
have had come to terms with my outward physical appearance. I’ve been able to empower
myself through it,’ he told ABC News. ‘My wife and I started a mantra: Not now or
ever! It was something we said on a daily basis when we were fighting. We would
use that as a catalyst on a day-to-day basis to get us through the daily trials
and tribulations. And 10 years later, we still use the mantra. Our children use
it. It’s a lifestyle.’
Mitchell clarified that he doesn’t want sympathy. Instead, he wants
to remind Internet users to think before they post.
‘I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I don’t
want a pity party,’ he continued. ‘I want to take this and turn it into a positive.
I don’t have any animosity toward the person who created it. I don’t even think
it was an intentional attack on my cancer situation. It just so happened to be a
Joi-Marie Mckenzie, ABC News
first saw the meme I was confused as how the picture made its way onto the internet
in the first place. Then there was feeling of embarrassment, and little bit of hurt
feelings,’ Mitchells tells Yahoo Health. ’At that point I felt it necessary to address
the post but do so with a positive spin and with no animosity or ill words for whomever
posted it. But I felt that it needed to be addressed to not only stop the negative
back lash that was heading my way to take a stand for cyber bullying. I wasn’t about
to walk around my hometown being looked at and chastised for something placed onto
And yet, he says, he is grateful for the outpouring of support he has received
since he posted his Instagram response.
‘The love shown country-wide has been mind blowing and absolutely overwhelming.
It is amazing to see so many people come together in one for a positive reason,’
he notes.” Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy, Yahoo
“The real point, though, isn’t that Mitchell is a cancer survivor instead of
a meth addict — it’s that too often, we’re too quick to share something we think
is funny without any thought for the bigger picture.
Consider, for a moment, if Mitchell were not the success story he is. Imagine
he was, in fact, a meth addict. Imagine he was, in fact, struggling to overcome
personal demons and a biological addiction that medical experts say is extremely
hard to shake.