Eight years ago Sampson County resident Jerry Bradshaw’s world was turned upside down when it was discovered that a cancerous tumor was lodged on his vocal chord.
“I had been given the option of going in and having surgery to remove my vocal chord and voice box or do some radiation and after that, would have to probably go in and remove it anyway,” Bradshaw said in full voice. “I wanted to look at something else before I gave up my voice box. My wife was able to locate the phone number to Cancer Treatment Centers of America and we called … that call changed my life.”
Before the call, Bradshaw didn’t have too many other options on the table, so he took a chance and spent eight weeks at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Oklahoma.
“My doctor here in Clinton told me to check it out because I really didn’t have anything else to lose,” he explained. “If I went out there and they couldn’t do anything for me, I would have to get my voice box out. If they could, then great.”
Bradshaw wound up not having to have any surgery while in Oklahoma.
“We did chemo and radiation at the same time,” he said. “I left Clinton whispering and came back talking. I have been talking ever since. It is eight years later, I am here talking to you and couldn’t be happier.
Which is why Bradshaw was pleased to travel just outside of Atlanta late last year to participate in the ground-breaking ceremony for a new 212,000 square-foot fully digital hospital that is being built in Newnan, Ga. The grand opening for the facility is expected to be in mid-August.
“We are actually ahead of schedule right now on construction,” said Mike Rieman, account supervisor for the Atlanta Cancer Treatment Centers of America facility. “We are right on schedule. It is very exciting.”
Bradshaw said he didn’t hesitate to speak when he was invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“Listen, the care that I received out there in Oklahoma with this company was second to none,” he said flatly. “They take a patient and your caregiver and make you feel like family. You are not a number, you are treated with dignity and respect. They didn’t just treat my cancer, they treated my entire body. Anything that I needed, they worked with it to bring it all together. They wanted to treat not only my cancer, but my body and my mind as well, so I could deal with the cancer … So any time I can promote the Cancer Treatment Centers of America I am going to do it, because of them and the good Lord above I have a voice and I am going to do everything I can to use it. For me, it was just an honor to just be invited. Hopefully, we can go down for the grand opening.”
Since his successful treatment, Bradshaw has stayed close to officials within the company and says that he will continue to spread the word about the five centers, including the new Newnan, Ga. site.
“I still go back once a year for checkups to Oklahoma,” he said. “I am hoping to work something out with my insurance so that I can go through the Georgia facility.It is a lot closer and I could drive there from here. For people in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, it is going to be a really big benefit for those people suffering from cancer. I know of two other people who go to the centers. One is from here and there is a gentleman out of Warsaw who both go to the Illinois facility. When the Atlanta one opens, I am sure they would want to go there, because it is just closer to travel to.”
Bradshaw also keeps in touch with patients who are considering going to the centers, through the center’s Patient-to-Patient network.
“I am talking to somebody three or four times a week,” he said. “I talk to people all the time about my experiences. When you are talking to someone who has been there, an actual patient, that has been through it, it makes all the difference in the world. I find that to be really beneficial to people. They are thinking about leaving their home and their family to seek treatment. They are dealing with the diagnosis and going to a place where they don’t know anybody. You have been told you have that ‘C’ word and your world is turned upside down. You start talking about going 1,300 miles away where you know no one, it can relieve a lot of stress off of someone. That is why I do it.”
Bradshaw’s testimony is something that will have more impact to potential patients, notes Rieman.
“Because he lived it and when he is speaking to patients, he is speaking from the heart,” he said. “We can share information about our patient model to people and to the media, but to actually hear it from him and our other patients’ experiences, it is unbelievable and I think that is what resonates deeply with our patients. He was told he wouldn’t have a voice and Jerry is now speaking with us. That is just one of the few stories that I have heard that are just absolutely unbelievable and I am blown away by his courage and commitment to speak about it and help us spread the word about the new facility and the services we provide.”
Rieman said that, when built, the new center is expected to have two-thirds of their patients coming from outside of Georgia.
For more information on the centers, click on to www.cancercenter.com.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to email@example.com.