Rios' journey began at 32 years old when he started experiencing strange symptoms including high fevers, night sweats, and neuropathy. He had seen a couple of doctors but they all offered the same diagnosis of the flu.
Weeks after receiving his blood test results, he was urged by a close friend to see a doctor as she noticed a result that was overlooked, an elevated white blood count level of 47,000. Three hours after checking in to the ER on February 19, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), Philadelphia chromosome positive. It was just one month before he and his partner were going to exchange their wedding vows in Puerto Rico.
After eight long rounds of aggressive hyper-CVAD chemotherapy, he was in complete medical remission. Soon after getting the news he was in full medical remission, he thought his cancer journey had ended until he was urged to get a bone marrow consultation by his primary doctor. He was told he needed a transplant because it would be tricky to treat the Philadelphia chromosome positive while on chemotherapy maintenance for the next few years.
Three months after the bone marrow consultation, he was told he matched with one person out of 25 million volunteers in the international marrow donor registry. The volunteer matched him 10/10, and the news was life changing. Two months later on March 23, he received a transplant which began a new chapter in his journey.
Rios is a gregarious friend, a supportive brother, and loving son. His smile and positivity is contagious. He enjoys the outdoors, yoga, walking, swimming, and laughing every chance he gets. Today, Rios is healthy, walking every day to build stamina and looking forward to tomorrow.