Student Survivor Turned Advocate: Nathan Ream Explains His Hopes for the 2021 School Year

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Nathan Ream, Back to School 2021

This feature is part of the National Alliance's 2021 Back to School Month campaign.

You can describe Nathan Ream as many things—high school senior, gamer, friend, Disney-enthusiast. But the most important descriptor is survivor. Being a Lymphoma cancer survivor has fueled Nathan’s drive to give back, help others, and raise money to support blood cancers treatments and research.  

The National Alliance caught up with the 30 Under 30 Changemaker as he is getting ready for the first day of his last year in high school. 

First things first, we asked him how his summer went. As a true Florida kid, a weekend at Walt Disney World was the first answer. “It helps to live two hours away, so traveling isn’t a pain,” Nathan said. He also took time over the summer to volunteer at the local shelter for the homeless. Service and giving back to his community are important to Nathan.  

As a senior at Duval Charter High School at Baymeadows, Nathan is most looking forward to seeing his friends and teachers. Priority #1: restarting the Zoo Club, as it was inactive during the pandemic. The zoo club sponsor and teacher, a former Jacksonville Zoo staffer, keeps two small lizards and a frog in the classroom, and the club enjoys interacting with these friendly reptiles. Nathan enjoys learning about animals and their habitats and volunteering at the zoo.    

Nathan is also thankful for the immense support his school provided during his cancer and for helping him be an advocate.

“What I think makes my school unique is that the staff and faculty want to help you. During my time raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, my school was open to sharing what I was doing on their social media platforms and on their own website.” 

In addition to studying and gaming with friends, this year, Nathan will continue his advocacy work and raising funds to fight blood cancers. “I think doing so shows other people like myself that they could help with the goal of crushing cancer. If someone were to decide to show support for someone who is sadly battling cancer, something little like shaving your head could show a good gesture. Or you could give monetarily to groups that have a mission to fight cancer, like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.” He’s even got his classmates to join in the campaign to raise awareness.  

Thank you, Nathan, for being a Changemaker in your community and an advocate for cancer research and support!