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Survivors share their plans for 2014

This article includes a description of two patients’ actual medical results. Those results may not be typical or expected for the particular disease type described in this testimonial. You should not expect to experience these results.

Wayne Reeder

Wayne Reeder has big plans for 2014. Big, as in 14,000 feet or more.

Reeder, a survivor of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, is starting to exercise more so he can tackle Colorado’s more than 50 “fourteeners,” mountain peaks that are at least 14,000 feet above sea level.

Climbing these mountain peaks is an intense challenge. Reeder is preparing by getting in shape and going on hikes. He’s already been to the top of Pikes Peak and Mount Evans, but he drove up to get there.

“It’s not just like a walk in the park,” Reeder says. “It’s a straight up climb. I’ve never done it but now I want to. Why? Because they’re there. I don’t want to do just a few. I want to do them all over the next few years. I want to be able to say I’ve done it, or tried.”

As if that weren’t enough, Reeder has a few other resolutions and plans for the year ahead. He’s resolved to change his diet to eat more organic fruits and vegetables, while cutting down on red meat. He’s planned to travel to Laconia, New Hampshire, with his wife for the Laconia Motorcycle Week, one of the largest bike rallies in the country and one that Reeder has never attended. On the way back, he’s going to ride through the Smokey Mountains on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and take a tour of the distilleries there.

And that’s just a snapshot of Reeder’s 2014.

“It’s a big achievement for me to be a cancer survivor,” he says. “It gives me a more positive outlook. I don’t feel like I’m carrying such a big burden anymore. In fact, I don’t feel I’m carrying any burden any more. It’s a big relief and wish everyone could feel it.” 

Jeana Churchill

Since Jeana Churchill’s diagnosis in 2011, her life has revolved around having cancer. This past year, in particular, has been challenging as Churchill and her husband traveled back and forth to our hospital near Phoenix for her treatment.

“There’s just been so much happening,” says Churchill, a survivor of pancreatic cancer. “For the past two years, everything’s been about cancer and we haven’t had a chance to live.”

For 2014, the Churchills have made a conscious decision to live their lives fully and to move beyond their focus on cancer. The couple sat down a few months ago and talked about how they would recapture dreams that cancer put on hold—or created.

“We talked about how to come back to us and what our life is about,” says Churchill. “That’s what this whole next year is going to be about.”

To get started on their plans, the Churchills did something that would seem strange outside of Las Vegas, where they live: They bought a wedding chapel. Already owners of an insurance company, the Churchills decided to put their energies toward their dream business. After all, Churhill’s dream job is to be a party planner.

Outside of their new business, the Churchills and their kids are spending more time together, just having fun. They go camping in the desert and ride their four-wheelers in the open space.

“We’re just bringing life back, traveling more and doing fun stuff we haven’t done in a few years,” Chuchill says.

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