Meet John and Whitney
Wife & Caregiver
John’s daughter Charlotte was just five months old when he learned he had aggressive B-cell lymphoma, a serious form of blood cancer.
Imagine having a new baby and not being able to interact with her for seven months. It was an emotional struggle, as he had to protect himself from illnesses while he was undergoing chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at Moffitt Cancer Center.
“Our world shattered into a million pieces within a minute,” says his wife Whitney about the original diagnosis. With three children including the baby, it fell on her to explain to them what their father was going through. And, to keep everyone’s lives going despite constantly worrying about her husband.
John regrets not having the strength to be there for his family. “I needed to focus on myself and just try to get through it,” he recalls. “I was very thankful for Whitney to be able to burden the responsibilities and make sure the kids were okay.”
Luckily they had Moffitt on their side. “We wanted to go where the best were, where the people had the most experience—that was their routine, just treating cancer,” he says. Perhaps because he was a competitive runner, John appreciated their aggressiveness and the way they mapped out his plan going forward.
Multiple rounds of chemo and even the bone marrow transplant weren’t enough to discourage him. “I wanted to get back to where I used to be, and I wasn’t going to let cancer stop it,” he says defiantly.
Of course, John had a family—and in particular a certain little girl he couldn’t wait to hold—motivating him to keep fighting. He’s understandably emotional about getting back what he could have lost.
“It’s great being able to hold her and play with her and interact with her,” he says. “The most important thing is being with your family.”