A cancer survivor, Leon Mitchell whose ravaged appearance was mocked in a cruel viral photo has posted a touching reminder that he is more than a meme. In 2005, Mitchell was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a rare form of cancer that starts in the nasopharynx, the upper part of the throat behind the nose and near the base of skull. The 31-year-old who lives in Washington state, survived the cancer but struggled for years with the devastating way it affected his body.
The meme, called Meth Curry, highlighted Mr Mitchell's likeness to American basketball player Stephen Curry, and compared his appearance with the gaunt body of a long-time methamphetamine user. The photo used was taken while he was undergoing chemotherapy. It was widely shared and went viral on social media. Mitchell who is the founder of KNOE Clothing took to his Instagram page yesterday, January 6, to hit back in a heartfelt post.
"So earlier today I was the butt of a not so funny meme "METH CURRY" directed at the outward physical appearance that I display," he wrote.
"The fact that the meme was posted was a reminder of how distasteful and cruel people can be without background knowledge of the person in the bullseye of the target. I've struggled deeply for years with the devastating effects cancer treatment plagued my body with. The massive destruction it took on my neck, shoulders, nose, throat, and ability to function normally. I am strong enough to endure these attacks after years of rebuilding. However as we look at the power story I explain, let's remember these types of social media attacks on people can be massively detrimental to some who still battle with insecurities and uncomfortability with themselves and their battles. If we are going to allow something like this go viral Let's do it for the right reasons!
And he concluded:"I am more then a meme, I am a father, husband, survivor, mentor, community advocate, and positive motivational speaker. Proud to have endured and conquered everything I have!"