David Schonian, I Ride - Dirt Rider Magazine

Diagnosed In 2007 With Leukemia (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia , An Aggressive Form) At The Age Of 17, Went Through Seven Months Of Chemotherapy, Five Rounds Total Involving Long Hospital Stays And Time At Home, Cleared Of The Disease And Released From The Hospital July 10, 2008; Went Riding July 11, 2008. 19 Years Old.When I was 10 years old, my dad's friend was selling an old Honda Trail 70 and he emailed me a picture of it. Immediately, I'm not even sure why, but I loved it. I begged for a bike for two years, and finally one Christmas I got an XR80.Before I was diagnosed with leukemia I was racing in the beginner class on a YZ250F. I hadn't ever won a race, but I was working really hard, training in the gym as much as I could, and dreaming of going pro. Mike Spohn was giving me lessons and pointers and was a big help to me then, through the chemotherapy treatment, and still is today.My physical conditioning before the chemotherapy definitely helped me. The doctors touched on this and said that I recovered much quicker than most patients because I was in better shape. I could take more and bounce back from it faster.During treatment I did go to the gym a bunch. There was a physical therapy place in the hospital, and I went almost every day and would do motos on the exercise bike. They all thought I was crazy.Getting out of the hospital, missing the fresh air and the sun and everything that goes along with being cooped up in a room all day, but going out and doing something that you've been dreaming about, it was an amazing experience, amazing.I started training with Jeff Dement. I met him in the hospital and became good friends with him. I won my first beginner class race, then I won my second race, then I moved up to the novice class. And now I'm racing in the TORCS racing series (hare scrambles) in the B class. I could not have done it without Jeff.My life could have ended when I was in the hospital, and it wasn't because I was riding something with two wheels, it was just some unfortunate event that happened. Yeah, motocross is dangerous, but you gotta go out there and live your life.