Diagnosed with cancer at a young age, Bojan shares his experiences and the profound impact they’ve had on his life. This interview delves into his journey, the unexpected silver linings he discovered, and his current mission to empower fellow young cancer survivors within the EU-CAYAS-NET.

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

Bojan, Boki. 28-year-old from Skopje, Macedonia.

Bojan non hodgkin lymphoma

What’s your diagnosis?

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

How and when did you find out about your diagnosis?

On vacation with my parents, we noticed a lump on my right thigh but I discovered the true diagnosis about 5 years later.

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

My biggest goal here is to learn because the situation in Macedonia regarding this topic could be better. On the other hand, talking to people with lived experience over the years and all of the experiences we had together really positively changed my life so I want to do the same for others by raising awareness and promoting our community.. That way even more people would experience similar things and their lives would be changed by figuring out that some things are normal and that they are not alone.

What has the cancer experience taught you?

This experience taught me that sometimes life needs to get a lot harder for your life to get better. For example, I spent 9 tough months in treatment but on the count of that in the past 11 years I got to travel all around Europe, participate in  some life-changing events, and meet lifelong friends as a youth cancer advocate and ambassador

What helped you the most during the treatment process?

Definitely, my parents created such a positive environment to be in during the treatment. Until this day I think of that as something that had to be passed to live my life the way that I live it right now.

What has changed in your life since your cancer diagnosis?

Now with the help of the projects related to Young Cancer Survivors, I get to travel a lot more often than before. During these regional meetings, events, and workshops I get the chance to meet wonderful people who helped me a lot with my problems, but also be there and pass the knowledge to the next generation.

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

One of my proudest achievements is that my work was recognized and I got the “13th of November Award” which is the highest honor given by the mayor’s office of the City of Skopje alongside 5 other volunteers for improving the living conditions of our fellow young cancer survivors. Being recognized in your hometown like that leaves me speechless every time I talk about it.

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time, I walk, listen to podcasts or audiobooks, ride a bike, hang out with friends, and travel. I like to be on the go and do active things so I constantly find myself something to do. One of my favorite things in the past years is delivering training sessions about soft skills, but also self-promotion and improvement

What makes you instantly light up?

Planning and solving problems. Oooh, I’m the happiest person alive when I’m challenged in any way whether it’s organizing an event, planning a trip, or giving advice to friends. Working with people and creating experiences are my favorite things that’s why I chose a career in Marketing.

What is on your bucket list?

My brother moved to Shanghai to be a basketball trainer so in the next year I would like to visit him there and see the sights like the Great Wall. Also, I would like to use that chance to travel around that part of the world visiting Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.

What personal goal would you like to achieve next?

Become a digital nomad and have the opportunity to travel around the world. I know it’s cliche but I just want to be the guy with all of the cool travel stories. There is so much to see and experience in the world. I want to experience life not just to live day by day and wait for some vacation days and good weather once a year.

How do you cope when things get hard?

Few things that let me blow off some steam in some hard times and not feel sorry for myself. I regularly go on walks, they keep me fit while thinking about things. I keep a journal where I write all of the happy things or the things that bother me which help me process things rationally. This is so effective that near the end I don’t remember why I was upset about it. Last but not least is just talking with friends. Their support helps me a lot.

What is one book you would definitely recommend to read?

Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek. This is the core of marketing and decision-making and will evaluate why you do want to do some specific things or it will get you on the path of figuring out your purpose in life.