These kids might be battling sickle cell disease now, but they’ve got big plans for the future.
Matthew Gould, 16, was one of five young patients at the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta who got dressed up as their dream jobs in a sweet photo shoot.
“It was a little weird having my pictures taken, but I enjoyed my day in the life,” Gould told InsideEdition.com.
While some patients dressed as hair dressers, bakers and professional soccer players, Gould said his dream is to become a medical lab scientist when he grows up, and he shadowed his own doctor, Dr. Ryan Summers, a pediatric hematologist and oncologist at the hospital.
“I enjoyed working with Dr. Summers and learning how he develops treatments for people,” Gold said. “I would want to help find cures for people. I want to help people.”
Gould’s battle with leukemia began when he was just 13 years old. As a result, he spent the majority of his teen years in and out of the hospital, receiving treatments and unable to walk.
“I was very surprised at first everything went so quickly once they told my parents that it was some sort of cancer,” Gould said. “I spent so much time in the hospital dealing with the side effects from seizures, bleeding from an ulcer and not being able to walk. I have had two bone marrow transplants and so many blood samples drawn that I could not count them.”
He said there were moments that he lost hope, especially as his health declined, but he persisted.
“I kept fighting because so many people were fighting with me,” he said. “My mom use to scream every time I would show her that I could use my hands, feet, or sit up by myself.”
He is now in remission after a successful bone marrow transplant in June – a donation from his younger sister.
Gould said getting a chance to see himself as who he wants to be when he grows up inspired him in his battle against cancer and left him hopeful that there will be more medical breakthroughs in the coming years.
“I wondered how many people would get a chance to live their life because of the experiments going on in the lab,” he said. “For me I want to live. I plan to live. I have not given death as an option.”