Cancer survivor becomes support system for others

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – The fight against cancer is usually a long one and it’s not easy.

Survivors will tell you there will be good days and there will be bad.

But as one remarkable survivor said it’s not always the doctors that have the biggest impact on those bad days.

The next time you think you have an excuse to avoid the gym — think again.

For Thomas Goode, the machines in the gym are a welcome change from medical ones.

“A lot of people, if they see me, they would never know that for one I have cancer. They would never know that I’ve had three stem cell transplants,” Goode said.

In 2006, Goode was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, which carried the possibility of dying within the next three to five years .

“That was the first thing that I heard when I had my original diagnosis. So I said, ‘OK, I’m going to beat those odds.’ I’m gonna be the one to say, ‘You know what? Nah, that’s not going to be me.'”

While his doctors prescribed chemo and radiation, Goode added iron supplements to the list – at least pumping iron.

But he couldn’t do it alone.

He needed spotters.

“Spotters in the gym are very important because I know what I can lift and what I can’t lift. They know where to push me, if I get stuck I’ll say ‘hey I need a spot right here’ and they push me for it,” Goode said. “In the cancer community, it’s the same way.”

When he’s not in the gym, Goode gets his cardio walking the halls of the Duke Cancer Institute, being a sort of spotter for patients here.

He works with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of North Carolina.

He’s this year’s honored hero, bringing the upcoming Light the Night Walk to patients who can’t get away because of treatment.

The annual walk shows those fighting cancer they have spotters, whether family or friends, doctors or just Goode.

“Sometimes somebody needs to hear something to get them over the top and they see me, they know what I’ve been through and then I’ll give them some encouraging words and that right there gives them motivation to say ‘OK, you know what? I gotta do this right here,'” Goode said.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society helps raise funds for research to find cures for blood cancer. It also helps provide assistance to those in treatment.

Light the Night Walk will be Oct. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre, located at 8003 Regency Parkway in Cary.

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