SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio man is proving he can beat the odds nearly five years after doctors told him he wasn't going to live longer than two weeks.
In November 2013, CJ Quichocho learned of the heart-sinking news when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
"I was in the military and I was getting ready to go to Afghanistan and they had to do a screening process in order for us to go overseas and they found the cancer through that," he said.
According to cancer.org, AML is a type of cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow. It's one of the most common types of leukemia in adults but is rarely diagnosed in people under 40. Quichocho was only 19-years-old at the time of his diagnosis.
"It was a heck of a ride,” he said. “I started chemotherapy immediately."
For eight months, Quichocho received chemotherapy through a clinical trial in San Antonio. By the end of his treatment, Quinchocho's leukemia appeared to be gone until he relapsed in September 2015. Doctors at San Antonio Military Medical Center recommended he undergo a bone marrow transplant. His older brother, Jarrod, was a perfect match.
"[I told him] 'I'm you. Like, my blood is your blood,'" Quichocho said.
The stem cell transplant alters the body's blood type. Quichocho was B Positive before and now, he is A Positive. He considers the transplant a rebirth.
"I'm doing great, I feel great," he said.
In May 2016, Quichocho entered remission and now, is expected to live a full life.
"Each year we like to honor somebody and really have them as a significant part of our campaign,” Pat Hilburn of the South Central Texas chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society said. “CJ puts a face and a story for anyone and everyone who wants to come out and have a connection to cancer."
Quichocho will be honored at the society's largest awareness event, Light the Night Walk, on October 13.
"It brings it back full circle for me to be able to share my story," he said.
Thousands are expected to light up downtown San Antonio in honor of the tight knit cancer community. To learn how you can get involved or make a donation, you can visit their website.