As a 22-year-old, Dr. Jerry Liebermann had his whole life ahead of him ― until the day when, suddenly, he didn’t.
After his gums wouldn’t stop bleeding from a routine wisdom tooth extraction, Liebermann was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia and given three years to live. Seeing the distant finish line of his life shift in a moment into sharp, near focus, he grew deeply depressed.
“I just felt like my life had ended and it was all over,” Liebermann said.
But it wasn’t over. Liebermann’s diagnosis was in 1978, that's 37 years ago.
What saved his sanity was help from a psychiatrist, who “taught me to keep on living in my mind no matter what my body was up to,” Liebermann said. What saved his life was hearing about Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, at that time the only cancer center Liebermann could find that was willing to treat him with a transplant of a donor’s bone marrow.