Will Godoy and son

Goal-setting dad
charts his family’s path
through colon cancer

Will Godoy‘s approach to life with cancer is all about setting and reaching goals. 
After grueling surgeries for Stage 4 colon cancer, Godoy set a goal to learn how to walk again. He did that and more; he now runs eight-minute miles and participates in charity relays and bike rides.
Before cancer, his career focused on earning kudos and bonuses. As the leader of team development for a large restaurant brand, Godoy’s goal is to encourage his almost 24,000 team members to achieve their own successes. But his approach may be best summed up with the goal he set for himself after his 2015 diagnosis: He wanted to live to see another day.
“If you have something to shoot for, it makes you want to see tomorrow,” the Mission Viejo husband and father said. “Then hopefully you’ll see it. And that’s all I’m hoping for.”
Godoy was not always sure he would be able to achieve that goal. Initially misdiagnosed, Godoy found out he had colon cancer during a trip to the emergency room for severe pain. After being treated by an oncologist he perceived as uncaring, Godoy knew he needed a change.
Discovery and Compassion
The new day Godoy was looking for began when he met with renowned cancer physicians at City of Hope’s main campus in Duarte. “To me, City of Hope is Southern California’s leader in cancer research and clinical trials,” he said. “They showed me an approach that essentially said, ‘We're going to try everything and not give up.’ That is the kind of cancer science and cancer experts I wanted at my side."
When he learned that City of Hope’s first Orange County location was opening in Newport Beach, he requested a job transfer from his company’s Rancho Cucamonga location to Huntington Beach so he could receive care close to where he worked and lived. At City of Hope | Newport Beach Fashion Island, he met medical oncologist Misagh Karimi, M.D., a gastrointestinal cancer specialist who embodies dedication to scientific innovation and compassionate care, Godoy said.
“When I first sat down with Dr. Karimi, he put me at ease because he's open and he's honest,” Godoy said. “But he's also willing to listen and, to me, that makes a great doctor. He is having a conversation with you, not just directing you.”
“It’s such a stress reliever that I don’t have to plan my day around a long drive for chemo,” he said. “And everyone at the City of Hope Newport Beach | Fashion Island location wants to make sure you’re doing well. The front desk receptionists always ask about my son. When I go for chemotherapy, the nurses make sure I’m comfortable. It’s the personal touches that make you feel welcome. All those things relieve the fear of the unknown, which was something my previous providers were not helping me with.
“To me, City of Hope is like the warm blanket people need when they get cancer.”
Family and Blessings
A symbol of Godoy’s gratitude toward City of Hope and his optimism for the future hangs on the wall of his house: a painting that a friend made of Godoy in front of the wishing trees at City of Hope’s Duarte campus.

Wishing trees are a City of Hope tradition, their branches filled with brightly-colored tags carrying messages of hope for people affected by cancer. The painting reminds Godoy of the compassionate care he’s received at City of Hope, another tradition that he says sets the institution apart.
“After one of my surgeries, I was having a really down moment, but one of the nurses came in, sat down with me, talked to me for a while, even prayed with me,” Godoy said. “That made me feel better. I probably wouldn't get that kind of treatment in other places, to be honest.
“I went from one medical system where I felt like I didn't matter to one that said, ‘We're here to save you,’” he said. “That's how I feel about City of Hope Orange County. I want to be here, and I'm glad I chose this place.”
Remote video URL
Caption: Our unique patient-centered approach to cancer care forges special bonds between physicians and patients. Join medical oncologist Misagh Karimi, M.D., and his grateful patient Will Godoy for a chat about world-class treatment at City of Hope | Newport Beach Fashion Island.

Visit www.cityofhope.org/OC to learn more. To make an appointment at any of City of Hope’s four Orange County locations, click here or call: