I am a Tampa native and was actually born at Mac Dill Air Force Base, as my father was a naval aviator at the time of my birth. I grew up on the south side of town, and in our world, we considered anyone who lived north of Gandy Boulevard a Yankee. I graduated from Robinson High School and chose to enlist in the Army Air Defense instead of pursuing a college degree.
I have had a successful and rewarding career at GTE/Verizon where I am currently a FiOS field operations manager, and where I was fortunate enough to meet my wife of 28 years, Julie. We have two beautiful girls – Melanie, who is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in business, and Carly, who is a freshman at The Florida State University in the combined bachelor’s/master’s of business program. Due to my daughter’s quest for higher education and the desire to tie up a few loose ends, I decided to go back to school and earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Saint Leo University.
In November 2004, I was diagnosed with stage IV transitional cell carcinoma (bladder cancer). In an effort to acquire a second opinion, I was fortunate enough to meet with Dr. Lockhart at Moffitt, who immediately gave us a sense that all was going to be fine. In January 2005, I had a radical cystectomy with neo-bladder reconstruction, and although all tissue had negative margins, I elected to receive four rounds of chemotherapy as a precaution. There have been several residual surgeries during my treatment; however, this is small potatoes compared to those I meet who are struggling with their journey.
Looking for a way to give something back, I researched the volunteer opportunities at Moffitt. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have found the Patient & Family Advisory Program and find it an indescribable honor to be able help others in this way. The experience of unit-based advisory work is very rewarding, and the appointment to the Advisory Council will provide an extraordinary opportunity to help those patients faced with the emotional and physical challenges of cancer.