In this interview, meet Amar Purišević, a young musician whose zest for life is as infectious as his music. Diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at 17, Amar battled through treatment with an unwavering spirit. Now, he uses his music to inspire others and find joy in every moment.

What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?

My name is Amar Purišević, I am 23 years old and I am from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

young leukemia cancer survivor

What’s your diagnosis?

My diagnosis is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

How and when did you find out about your diagnosis?

I was 17 when I was diagnosed back in 2018. It all started with a series of headaches and fatigue. I went to the doctor and we did all the analysis necessary, which had shown that I have the AL Leukemia type B.

What would you like to accomplish within EU-CAYAS-NET?

Well, I would like to connect with people who have been through the same things as I have, hear their experiences and share mine. Also, I would love to give help and support to those new young people who have been recently diagnosed, just like I have been given a few years back when I was in their shoes. In short, I want to make something positive out of this bad experience that I’ve had while dealing with cancer.

What has the cancer experience taught you?

Most of all, it has taught me to appreciate simple things in life and all the moments that may even seem insignificant, you never know what life has in store for you and you should live each day to the fullest.

What helped you the most during the treatment process?

My family, friends and the positive and optimistic mindset that I‘ve had.

What has changed in your life since your cancer diagnosis?

Not so many things in everyday life honestly, only in the way I perceive my existence now.

If you were to meet yourself the day you heard a diagnosis, what would you say to your younger self?

To keep fighting and not to give up, it’s worth it. The sun must come after the rain.

Try to describe yourself in 3 sentences:

I am very persistent in getting what I want, so if plan A fails, there are still 24 letters in the alphabet, you just have to keep pushing. Also, I am very extroverted and sociable, I get connected with people easily. My only flaw would be that sometimes I speak too much.

young acute lymphoblastic leukemia survivor

What are your achievements to date (formal or informal, education or hobby)?

Well, I have finished ITAcademy, department of Audio and Video Design, I speak Bosnian, English, Spanish and a fair bit of German, so I work as a tourist guide here in Bosnia. I also play guitar, piano and I write my own music. The YouTube channel where I post my music has almost 12 thousand subscribers and around 5 Million views in total as of April 2024.

What do you do in your free time?

As previously mentioned I write music, learn languages and I also love to travel all around the world.

Young lymphoblastic leukemia survivor

What do you need/want to have a crash course in?

I was planning to take a course in the German language, I really love it but I need more practice to be able to speak it correctly and fluently.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

To never just chase the goal in life, chase the steps leading to the goal, and that goal will come to you.

What is your favorite motto in life?

Trust the timing of your life. Different things come at different paces.

What makes you instantly light up?

Simple things like seeing someone genuinely happy about something they love, or even hearing my favourite song on a radio for example.

What is on your bucket list?

The first thing is to make my family happy, to return all that they’ve done for me when I needed them the most and second, to make myself happy. Other things on the list will follow naturally.

What do you do to relax?

Play an instrument, listen to some music, watch a movie.

What are some of your personal rules?

Don’t care what others think. As long as something that I do makes me happy and doesn’t bring harm to me or others in any way possible, I won’t stop doing it just because somebody else has a different opinion about it.

What defines you as a person?

My friendliness, kindness and open-mindedness I would say, but that’s just my personal view.

What keeps you going every day?

I would simply say the hope that there will be a better tomorrow, even if it’s a bad day.

What personal goal would you like to achieve next?

Do a musical project which will receive even more popularity than the previous ones.

What in your life do you feel most grateful for?

It would definitely be this second chance at life after surviving cancer, many people would give anything just to live one more day.

What makes your life feel purposeful?

As someone whose biggest passion is music, I’d have to go with the ability to make someone happy, even if it’s just for a moment with a song, it means a lot to me.

How do you cope when things get hard?

I just remember what I’ve already been through and if I was able to overcome that, I can overcome anything.

What lesson was hardest for you to learn?

To stop caring what others think, I was really shy before, but as I grew older, I became more confident.

Which app do you use the most on your phone?

I think Instagram, but I’m not sure.

Are there any websites that you visit daily?

Mainly the ones where I practice the languages that I speak.

What is one book you would definitely recommend to read?

One of my all-time favourites is Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, but everyone has a different opinion.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/internet/Netflix and why did you choose to watch it?

“One Love” movie about Bob Marley. Bob is my biggest inspiration because of his approach to music, life and, of course, his battle with cancer.

And this is what you absolutely have to know about me too:

Well, basically I have told everything about myself in the previous answers, if you want to know more, why don’t you meet me in person 😉