Meet Scott

| 1 Comment


On the surface, Scott Simcoe is not a very impressive man. At twenty-six years old, he is shorter than average and slender, with reddish-blonde angel curls, soft blue eyes, and a gentle smile. He wears a mishmash of brand-name and vintage clothes that he finds in a variety of second-hand shops. On a warm day, he can most often be found sitting under a tree at the Mont Royal Park, blasting Indie Rock with his earphones on, a pair of light brown-tinted Ray-Ban aviators slipping down his nose.

What people don't usually see, however, are Scott's insatiable lust for life, his inspirational mind, and his incredibly warm heart.

In 2008, Scott was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a cancer of the white blood cells which affects bone marrow. Many people in his situation would languish, would brood on their suddenly endangered lifespan, and with good reason. Scott very nearly did. He felt awful, always tired, could barely climb stairs without needing to take a break, and was losing too much weight. However, he chose to take it as a challenge, making many positive changes to his life as well as taking the tyrosine kinase inhibitors to combat his disease. He changed his diet, cutting out all added sugar, and decided to become a vegetarian, to force himself to be extremely diligent to eat a balanced diet and promote general health. He joined a gym and started to learn yoga and tai chi to combat the fatigue brought on by the illness and treatment, as well as the stress and anxiety that came with them. He took up long-distance running, shooting, learning Swahili, and woodcarving to keep himself busy. He decided that he didn't want to waste a minute of his life, and to live every day to its fullest.

"You've got to grab every opportinity you can, you know?" Scott said when I expressed my amazement at the diversity of his hobbies. "I hate the phrase 'you only live once.' That's not true at all. You live every day. That's why I've decided to make each one count."

This optimistic frame of mind is nothing new for Scott. He has always had a sunny disposition, a willingness to believe that everything will turn out just fine. He takes a holistic approach to his body, his health, his heart, and the people in his life: everything is connected, everything has a purpose, and everything happens just as it was meant to happen. He is convinced that he got leukemia for a reason, even if he can't tell what the reason is right now. With this perspective in mind, he doesn't hesitate to cut people out of his life if he finds them to be a toxic influence. There is no room for negativity around him.

Scott loves to surround himself with people, but has a limited group with whom he is close. In spite of this, he is open and welcoming, and will give anyone a chance. He always listens to people's problems, empathizes, offers advice when asked, and does it all with a smile and without a hint of unwillingness or resentment, as though it never even occurs to him to not want to listen. It's this openness that led him to volunteering at a suicide hotline, which he prefers not to name to encourage people to do their own research, three times a week since 2010. Although he himself has never been in such a dark place, even after his diagnosis, he can empathize with those who need help. In Scott's experience, "some people just feel so alone that they think no one is listening. Sometimes all they need to know is that someone cares, even if that person is a stranger." He carries this sentiment with him wherever he goes, and the concept of random acts of kindness, like smiling at a stranger in the street or sharing his groceries with a homeless person, is completely foreign to him: don't people do things like that all the time?

Scott has lived with CML for six years now. After seemingly infinite rounds of bone marrow biopsies, blood tests, medication, doctor's visits, and therapy appointments, the cancer is nearly gone. He might go into remission, or he might take a turn for the worse; there is no way of knowing. But he believes with all his heart that everything happens for a reason. Maybe he got sick so that he would be inspired to volunteer at the suicide hotline so that he could talk to the young woman who would one day go onto finding the cure for cancer, and maybe the only thing that stopped her from killing herself was the kind voice over the phone telling her that she did matter, that she was important, and that the world would be less bright without her in it.

Scott may not be well-known, or influential, or even important to the general public, but to those who know him, who are helped by him, Scott is an unsung hero, and truly an inspiration.

1 Comment

Very motivational. Shows you really can change, and become well by having a healthier lifestyle.

Leave a comment