Ansel Niemeyer, a leukemia survivor from Bowling Green, joined more than 100 five-year cancer survivors on Friday, June 6, for an emotional and momentous walk down a red carpet lined with hundreds of cheering family, friends, caregivers and hospital care team members, to celebrate five years of cancer survivorship.
The Pike County native was diagnosed in 2007 after his annual physical with his general doctor
“For several years my blood counts had been coming down. They became low enough that my doctor suggested that I take the next step…a bone marrow test,” Niemeyer explained. “I did not think much about it at the time and when I had the test, the doctor came in and said I had Hairy Cell Leukemia. The doctor wanted me to start treatment right away. I said let me think about it, so not realizing the seriousness of the diagnoses, I went shopping in St. Louis.”
Niemeyer said reality checked in as he did some research on the type of cancer he had.
“I always believed that a second opinion on any serious health issue was important,” he explained. “I did not know where to go. At that time I was scared.
“I had been seeing the ads on T.V. for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, but never paid much attention to them, but now I was interested,” Niemeyer added. “Also my good friend, Bob Cole, had gone to the Center in Tulsa, Okla. and he spoke highly of the hospital and always had a positive attitude about his treatment. So I called and set up my first appointment. Just the phone call and the person I talked to gave me hope.”
Several weeks later, Niemeyer drove to the hospital in Zion, Ill. He said as soon as he walked into the doors of the cancer hospital, he felt uplifted and from that point, all his needs were taken care of.