"There was a tumor in my back, inside of my ribcage, behind my lungs. It was the size of a grapefruit. I went through five rounds of chemo and radiation," the freshman at San Joaquin Memorial says.
After six months of chemo and radiation, he was in remission.
"Fairly recently I realized how lucky I was to catch it so early. I didn't really get it I guess that was for the better," he adds.
His childhood friend Max Bauer watched him in his battle with the blood cancer, so when the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's Students of the Year program presented an opportunity to raise money and awareness, he set an ambitious $50,000 fundraising goal.
"We started from the beginning - how do we raise money? We send out letters, we're holding a Dueling Pianos event," says Clovis West High School junior Max Bauer.
$14,000 into his goal, Max has organized campaigns and pitched to corporate sponsors. The program is not only helping him perfect the practice of public speaking and networking, each pitch is an opportunity to get closer toward his goal.
"I'm really proud of the work that he's doing, the growth is just amazing," says Students of the Year campaign development manager Andrea Calderon.
Calderon says the leadership development program for high school students in the Central Valley challenges students to raise money over seven weeks.
This year, there are 11 candidate teams made up of 20 students.
"Every dollar raised through this campaign supports our mission to find a cure for blood cancers," says Calderon.
In addition, it provides support and resources for Valley patients.
Max's Dueling Pianos event fundraiser is march 23rd at 6 o'clock at Fort Washington Country Club. You can buy tickets or become a sponsor.