In October of 2018, WWE Superstar Roman Reigns revealed to the world that he was facing a leukemia recurrence after having beat it once before, eleven years ago. After a brief 4-month absence in which he underwent treatment, the former Universal Champion returned to WWE TV with the news that he was in remission.
In a discussion with the BBC's Radio 5 Live, Reigns recounts the anxiety of announcing his diagnosis on Monday Night RAW, the difference between his two scares, and what advice he has for people who are in a similar situation.
A transcript of the 3-minute video is also included below.
Roman Reigns: It was a night of mixed emotions, you know. On one hand, I was terrified because I'm sharing this news with the whole world. A huge wave of opinions and criticism I knew was going to be coming my way. But on the other hand, I was excited to finally be able to share this huge part of me, something I've kind of held as a secret. To be honest, once I'd made the announcement, once I felt the crowd, and then on top of that, once the night was over, then I got the feedback through the social media, Twitter, Instagram, all the above, the outpour of love and support is what really made it known to me that this was the right thing to do.
Chris Latchem: This is the second time you've gone through this process. First time was a decade or so ago when you were just starting out trying an NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings. It must have been completely different, being a younger man, who wasn't as successful at that stage. How different was it?
Roman Reigns: It was totally different. I didn't have any money, I didn't have a job. I was aspiring to be an NFL football player. On top of it, I was chasing a very physical job. And with all that happening, my wife was pregnant. That was a time where I felt like I was on an island. I felt like CML leukemia was going to take my life, whether I survived or not. I wasn't going to be able to do the things I wanted to do. I wasn't going to be able to achieve the goals I had set out to do since I was a little boy. So for me, I was very bitter, but I kept it in.
Chris Latchem: What advice would you have for anyone in the situation where they feel like they're kind of drowning?
Roman Reigns: When you're drowning you want to reach out to people and a lot of times you can pull them down. You can be a hindrance to another person. But this is a different type of water. This is one of those places where the more the merrier. The bigger the support system -- I don't think you can ever have too much help. I don't think your support system can be too great. I don't think you can ever share your story too much. As long as it's reaching out to someone, as long as it's helping somebody, as long as it's giving someone just a little tear of hope, as long as somebody can read into what's going on with you, and they can look at that and say, "maybe I can make it too."