On September 24th, 2013, my family squeezed together on an uncomfortable couch in a tiny hospital room at Beaumont. We were surrounding my dad, who was in the bed, refusing to put a hospital gown on. We were anxious as we waited to hear the news from the doctors. All we knew at this point was this: A few weeks back my dad had suffered a few seizures. He went to his primary doctor, who ran tests on Friday the 21st. Early in the morning on the 24th, my dad got an urgent phone call from his doctor telling him to get to Beaumont as fast as he could- the results were in, and they were not good. Their were lesions in my dad's brain.
The results we got were not the ones we wanted.
Even more scary, the doctors said that the tumors in the brain were not the PRIMARY source of the cancer. This meant that the cancer had started- and was growing- somewhere else in his body.
Up until this point in his life, my dad was a very healthy man. Not once did we suspect he was sick, never did the word cancer even cross our mind.
Yet, here we were.
After a few more days, and a few more tests, it was determined that the cancer had started in the lungs.
The lungs? My dad was not a smoker. This shocked us all. How could this be? How could we not have known? How long has this been growing inside of him? Where else has it spread?
There were so many questions, so many fears.
The largest brain tumor was removed surgically. My dad was then put on a medication, Tarveca, which is supposed to shrink the tumors and stop them from spreading.
For the next few weeks, I had to retell this story. Coworkers, church members, family, friends- they all wanted to know the scoop. And I don't blame them. My dad is a special guy and a lot of people care about him. But the one thing I got over and over was-
"Did he smoke?"
"No." I'd reply, with a heavy sigh.
While this was all going on, my Aunt Terry was living her final days with lung cancer. She had battled for a few years, but physically, she became too weak. Terry's cancer had also spread to her brain. A lot of people knew my aunt was dying, and that she was relatively young, so they would ask what her diagnosis was. When I said "lung cancer", I got the same question
"Did she smoke?".
"Yes". I'd reply, with a heavy sigh.
Yes, she smoked. But I do not understand, on her dying days, why that matters. Yes, smoking is bad for you. Yes, there is proof that it causes cancer. But the woman fought hard, and she certainly did not deserve to have cancer handed to her.
And neither does my dad.
Since I began my job with the American Cancer Society I have been doing a lot of research on cancer. One of the things I have learned is that there is a severe lack of funding for lung cancer research. People assume you can only get it by smoking, which is not true at all. But because of that stereotype/stigma, people don't donate toward funding for lung cancer research. Actually, lung cancer kills more people than breast, colon, and prostate cancer COMBINED.
I am asking you to walk with me on May 3rd because by registering to walk and raising funds, we can raise money for early detection, new treatments, and other important research.
I am walking for my dad. I am walking to celebrate the fact that he is surviving. I am walking to prove that it CAN be beat. I am walking to raise awareness. I am walking so that others can breathe easier.
To join me, and my dad, on May 3rd, go here: John's Warriors and click "Join Team"
To donate in honor of my dad, go here , Dad's Page , and click DONATE.
When all of this began, 500 of you joined a prayer page in honor of my dad. You brought him meals, you gave him rides. You asked what else you can do. This is what you can do- join us. Help save more lives.
I want my dad to be around for a long time. I want new research to be found, new therapies, new medications, so that he can keep beating lung cancer. I need my rock, and I need you all to help me fight.