Relentless Positivity. This is the mantra that carried Arnav Krishna throughout his two year cancer journey, and one that his friends and family continue for him today.
Arnav was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 1st 2002, and was raised and lived in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. He was a ‘lifer’ at the Swain School, known for his constant mischievous antics with his twin brother, Dhruv. He was an excellent student, and regularly achieved Head of School and Dean’s List for his academic achievements. In addition to his school activities of soccer, the play, and the musical, he was an incredible cyclist, and was ranked #18 on the Junior National circuit, dreaming of becoming an Olympian.
The summer after he graduated from Swain, and after competing in Nationals with a persistent pain in his left leg, Arnav was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare and aggressive bone cancer. Despite this devastating news, Arnav remained relentlessly positive, and attended school while receiving chemotherapy and undergoing surgery. By the next summer, his scans were clear. After his treatment, Arnav began attending Moravian Academy, with the hopes of becoming a doctor after graduation.
During his time at Moravian, Arnav was able to reflect on his cancer treatment, stating in an essay “cancer has taught me many things. It has taught me to appreciate what I have and enjoy the simple things in life…It has also taught me the value of friendship. Through [my treatments], many of my friends visited me and I had a great time when they would come over. They gave me hope and kept me positive even in the darkest of times.”
In 2018, Arnav began cycling training once again. Determined to not let his past treatment hold him back, Arnav competed in the kilometer time trial event at the summer 2018 Junior Nationals. Strengthened by his teammates, coaches, friends, and family, Arnav finished strong, less than two years after his first diagnosis.
Only days later, Arnav received news that his cancer had returned, stronger and more aggressive than before. When most would feel defeated and give up, Arnav held his head high and continued to live by his mantra of relentless positivity. A week before Arnav passed, he attended a Philadelphia 76ers game to cheer on his favorite team. He cracked jokes with friends in the hospital, and was greeted with cheers and applause from almost 100 people when he traveled home to say his final goodbyes. After a two-year battle with cancer, Arnav passed away surrounded by his family in December of 2018.
Despite his short life, Arnav made a lasting impact on those he met. His friends and family will always remember his ever-shining light, regardless of the circumstances. For an assignment, Arnav wrote “Cancer has made me grateful for all of life’s gifts and has taught me many life lessons that I will never forget. It has taught me to be positive even in the darkest of times. As Michael Jordan once said, ‘Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up, figure out how to climb it.’”
We can all learn something from Arnav and his endless wisdom, and continue to lead lives dedicated to relentless positivity.