At age 16, Killian Gouvernel’s life changed forever when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects the body’s lymphatic system.
Despite his diagnosis and the years of testing, treatments, forced breaks from school, and frequent hospital stays leaving him feeling depleted, Killian discovered a new sense of self-determination that has served him well in all aspects of his life.
“Cancer is one of those things where when it happens to you, you get a whole different perspective. I’ve almost died twice from it now, and that really changes you,” said Killian. “You get this sense of determination because you don’t know how long things are going to take, so you have to do what you can to just fight through it and focus on beating it.”
Two and a half years later, Killian is celebrating two major milestones – graduating from NBCC’s Electrical Construction program and officially being declared cancer-free.
From the beginning of his time at NBCC, Killian’s commitment to learning his new trade made a lasting impression on his instructors. Although he was still undergoing chemo and radiation treatments during his program, he remained dedicated to his studies. He often left shop class for treatments, only to return the same day, and always found ways to make up any missed time.
“There wasn’t really a way to balance it all,” said Killian. “In the times when I was feeling sick, I would just push through whenever I could because I really wanted to learn and move forward with my life into a successful career.”
Killian’s hard work paid off when it came time to apply his skills in the workplace. During his practicum with Duncan Electrical he worked on Area 506’s new Waterfront Container Village in Saint John.
“It was a great experience. I loved it,” said Killian. “Workwise, it was some of the best work I’ve ever done.”
Today, Killian is focusing on his future and reflecting on all he has accomplished during his program.
“Over the last year, I’ve learned that I’m a lot more capable of doing things that I never thought I would be able to do.”