At just 11 years old, Esra D. Mullner was diagnosed with a tumor in his spine. His doctors advised against surgery due to the high risk and low success rate of the procedure, but unfortunately, the tumor grew larger causing periods of paralysis. Surgery was needed to save Mullner’s life.
“I remember my mom told me and at the time I didn’t understand what a tumor was,” Mullner said. “I just remember my mom was mad that the neurosurgeon was going on vacation right after he told us that. That’s how I knew it was bad.”
Mullner had three episodes where he becomes paralyzed from waist down for 30 minutes to an hour. “It felt like needles coming from inside my back pushing outward,” he said. The tumor had grown into his spinal nerves, which was causing the paralysis.
Prior to his diagnosis, Mullner had dreamed of becoming a marine, after being inspired by Marine recruiting posters posted on walls near his wrestling gym. “One day in 10th grade, I went in and the doctors told me the tumor was gone. It had just disappeared! It was a miracle,” Mullner said. “It was the happiest day of my life because it meant I could play sports and fulfill my dream of joining the Marine Corps.”
Muller waited numerous months following high school graduation before his medical waivers were finally accepted into recruit training. His waiting efforts paid off, and he is now two weeks away from graduation.