Fighting cancer is a battle too many know all to well. It seems like everyone has a friend, mother, father, sister or loved one who has been touched by cancer. Carve 4 Cancer board member, Earl Stout, is one of those people. Earl battled cancer and after 10 years of remission he looks back on that battle and how it shaped his life. This is his story...
I consider this fall and winter season time my 10 year remission mark.
11 years ago in the end of October 2006, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma disease, stage 2B. It was located in the left of my neck and chest at the time of diagnosis. The tumor in my chest was the size of a grapefruit. Another two months and the tumor would have started to grow into my heart and pulmonary artery. If that had happened, I have the feeling I probably wouldn't be sharing my story with you.
I went through chemotherapy and radiation. Then the cancer spread to my left arm pit after undergoing 6 weeks of radiation treatment a grueling 5 times per day. My diagnosing oncologist suggested an autologous stem cell transplant. I had the stem cell procedure at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. After the autologous stem cell transplant and more radiation, I got my clean bill of health in the beginning of January 2008. The combination of the stem cell transplant and radiation is what put my cancer in remission along with other therapies and modalities.
If it wasn't for having my autologous stem cell transplant at Jefferson Hospital and doing volunteer work for the Jefferson Buddy program there, I would have never met Brent Evans. I met Brent and his Family on Christmas eve of 2010 when visited Brent while he was undergoing his 1st allogenic stem cell transplant. We instantly became friends that day and it's a day I will never forget and will cherish forever. He and I had many conversations, but one was particularly special. It was about his idea for a winter festival event that would raise money for blood cancer. I instantly connected with the idea and my mind began to envision what would become Carve 4 Cancer. Now, 4 festivals later and going into our 3rd year as a non-profit organization, it's amazing to think about all we have accomplished.
I have been snowboarding for nearly 25 years now (geez I am getting old). Little did I know that I would end up battling cancer and coming out on top as a Warrior Champion, defeating the Evil Beast of Cancer. If I had never been diagnosed with cancer I would have never learned, experienced, grown spiritually and had this amazing journey and figure out what I am capable of. Sometimes in life you have to accept things, even if they aren't the greatest. As with many challenges in life, for me there is a silver lining and blessing in disguise within my journey. I have accepted many things that at first that I did not want to and in the past had resisted with all I had. Now I am part of Carve 4 Cancer, building a Legacy and foundation in Brent's honor that is much bigger and bolder than I ever imagined. If I had never been diagnosed with cancer, would I be a part of all this? Who knows, that is a the Mystery and Destiny.
Celebrate Life everyday. Honor and be grateful for what and who you have.
See you February 3rd at Blue Mountain for Carve 4 Cancer 5