“…[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 (distasteful) joke.’” Joi-Marie Mckenzie, ABC News
“‘…When I 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 the Internet.’
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 Health
“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.