2017 Rose Parade: 6 questions for non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor Darrell George
December 5, 2016 | by Denise Heady
For the 45th year in a row, City of Hope will participate in the Tournament of Roses Parade. This year, seven patients will welcome 2017 atop City of Hope’s Rose Parade float. The float, themed "The Miracle of Science with Soul," adds a deeper dimension to the parade’s theme of “Echoes of Success.”
Darrell George cannot recall a time when he was sick. He can’t even remember ever having a cold. So when he went in for his annual physical in 2014 he was surprised to learn that he had developed a mass that was later diagnosed as non-Hodgkin lymphoma. As the city manager for Duarte, California, he was used to working with City of Hope on real estate transactions and other management issues, but that relationship changed when George became a patient and began treatment at City of Hope. Now, nearly two years later, George is not only thankful to his doctors and nurses for the phenomenal care and treatment, but to the entire medical industry for how far they’ve come with cancer research.
Here, George shares some of the wisdom he's gained during his treatment journey.
What was the most pivotal emotional moment during your treatment?
My most pivotal moment was right after my first round of chemotherapy and wondering – hoping – that it would work.
What would you tell other patients who have been recently diagnosed?
My advice to other patients would be to remain positive no matter how bad you think things are or can get. Put your trust in your doctors and the advances made in cancer treatment. Also, stay close to your family, friends and faith.
What is one piece of practical advice you would give patients?
My practical advice would be to, if at all possible, get out of your hospital bed daily and walk and talk. If this isn’t possible, continue to talk with people about the regular day-to-day comings and goings of life.
What was your most memorable encounter during treatment?
My most memorable encounter was, by far, watching my New England Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX on Feb 1, 2015, from my hospital bed with my family and lots of friends.
What family member or loved one did you rely on most – and how did he/she help?
My wife and kids were amazing with their never-ending help and support throughout it all. They were always there for me, both in body and spirit.
Which person at City of Hope had the biggest impact – and how did he/she help?
From the moment I was diagnosed with cancer and my call to City of Hope President and CEO Robert Stone to my regular checkups with Dr. Stephen Forman, their positivity, encouragement and words of strength were tremendously helpful to my outlook on beating this thing.
What could a family member or loved one do to help a patient that they might not think of?
A family member or loved one should just remember to stay positive and communicative throughout it all. No matter how difficult things will get, the patient will always appreciate it.
Who do you feel you owe the most "thanks" for your successes?
Many thanks need to be offered for my successes, including the entire medical industry and how far they’ve come with cancer research and treatment. In addition, my family and friends for always being there in times of need, along with a supportive and compassionate workplace at my office and, obviously, the doctors and nurses for the phenomenal care and treatment that I received over the past couple years.
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