Hi, my name is Damian. I’m originally from Tucson, Arizona. After high school I joined the Air Force to work on RADAR jamming systems for fighter jets. I embarked on this adventure healthy and with no conditions in August of 2011. In 2017 I felt as if I plateaued in a job that no longer served me. I pursued retraining which led to a flight physical and eventually a new adventure as a Flight Engineer. While doing the physical, discrepancies within my blood were identified. Looking back, I suppose the Air Force gave me my “make a wish” and let me fly. This new adventure began. By 2019 I had made it through BFE, SERE, IQT/MQT on the AC-130W and was on course to deploy. I completely dismissed my fatigue and shortness of breath as the doctors didn’t seem too concerned. After one hell of a trip out the door in Iraq I think we all had an interesting 2020 and I kept going. The year began with me returning and not processing my experience or or fully grasping my father’s decline in health. My last flight was at the end of February and by March a whole pandemic ensued. I was put into isolation because my leadership and I didn’t know the severity of my disease versus COVID. By June my father passed and I was crushed; but I kept going. As time passed I tried to be positive and pour myself into my service but after a further decline in health, an awakening car accident and Med Board God had a different trajectory for me. By March of 2022 I was medically retired and truly lost a sense of identity and self image. Appointments at this point had increased from once a year to every six months, to every three months, to every month, to every two weeks, to once a week. I was being seen at the Mayo clinic for the possibility of Aplastic Anemia or Myelodysplastic Syndrome. A couple days after retirement, I was at Mayo Rochester and came back with a new diagnosis: Short Telomere Syndrome with a Dyskeratosis Congenita (bone marrow failure). After a few months of overindulgence, I was notified that a bone marrow transplant was necessary and three possible donors were identified. I decided to make a change and pushed forward. I poured my love into my puppy and made a huge investment into my personal wellness focusing on: physical, mental/emotional, nutritional/hygienic, spiritual, social/family/community, financial, intellectual, environmental, medical/psychological, and professional aspects. By May 2023 I felt ready and pressed on. Now, after eight/nine months; I have triumphed over two bone marrow transplants, about 20 rounds of chemo, one zapp of radiation, about 15 bone marrow biopsies, 70 days in patient, about a hundred transfusions of hemoglobin, platelets, magnesium and potassium, my first encounter with COVID, RSV, EBV, HLH, GVHD, a number of flirts with death, a weight flux of 77 kg to 59 kg to 86 kg to 78 kg, thousands of pills, countless side effects and so many lessons learned. I have lost the most comprehensive love of my life (my puppy), shed so many things that no longer serve me and am proud to say; I’m still here and I’m continuing to move forward. I lost family members, lost out on holidays, memories, and many events but gained faith, resilience, and my health improving! Totis Viribus, Amor Fati, Memento Mori