By Ben Major, The Lanier Law Firm
I learned in a very interesting way that you should do what you love in life – even if it appears to be risky and against the odds.
I grew up in the small, rural Southeast Texas town of Warren, and graduated from high school with a class of 75 students. Despite my blue-collar roots, I had a white-collar mentor of sorts who was a plaintiff’s attorney in Beaumont. Based on his stories and my own experiences, I knew early on that I wanted to practice law and represent the “little guy.”
Throughout college, I coached between one and four little league basketball teams. It was a blast! Instead of law school, I chose to teach and coach instead. From 1998 through 2007, I taught mostly English while primarily coaching basketball and tennis in various high schools. I loved the kids and coaching them, but candidly, I detested the classroom.
Not long after meeting my future (and current) wife, Tiffany, while we were both working at the same school, I found a golf-ball-like protrusion in my neck. Tiffany then introduced me to her mom, Mary, who is an ultrasound technician in Beaumont. On the day I met my future mother-in-law, she and Tiffany decided it was a good idea to do an ultrasound on my neck. Good idea indeed! Mary discovered that I had a chain of swollen lymph nodes, and the “golf ball” in my neck was just the tip of the iceberg.
In May 2006, I was formally diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a highly treatable but nevertheless frightening form of cancer. On the last day of the school year, I had friends over to ceremoniously send me into treatment by letting them shave my head. Tiffany started it off by shaving a “T” on the back of my head and my friends stepped in until I was completely bald – a look I hope not to sport again for a long time.
For the next 24 weeks, I underwent chemotherapy, with Tiffany driving me to and from all of my appointments and follow-ups. Rather than allowing me to focus on the negative, she invited me to join her in a Law School Admission Test (LSAT) prep class, which turned out to be another great idea. During chemo, I began fixating on the LSAT rather than my cancer. Tiffany and I were accepted by various schools after taking the LSAT.
For more than a month in 2006, I received daily doses of radiation before my doctors told me my cancer was in remission. Within an hour, Tiffany and I were aboard a plane to Las Vegas, where we were married the following morning. It was the happiest day of my life.
Although Tiffany decided law school wasn’t for her, she and I moved to Lubbock, where I attended Texas Tech University School of Law on a full scholarship. My wonderful wife could not have been more supportive throughout the whole process.
During my walk to class each morning from the parking lot to the law school campus, I would quietly thank God for giving me a second chance to really love someone (and to be loved) and to do what I really wanted to do with my life. I graduated in 2010 and worked at two firms before receiving the welcome call from Kevin Parker at The Lanier Law Firm in 2012 to join the firm. Looking back, I can truly say that I have no regrets.