Colon and Liver Cancer Patient
Keith was spending the holidays alone while recovering from surgery on the fourth floor of Moffitt Cancer Center when he had an epiphany.
He hatched a plan: he would buy a Santa Claus suit and return the following Christmas after he had recovered.
“And ever since then I’ve been Moffitt’s Santa and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. Not only is it something that I think the people at Moffitt enjoy and cherish, it’s something they don’t know how much I cherish,” says Keith.
According to Keith, he shouldn’t even be here. He bravely fought stage 3 colon cancer but after five years in remission the cancer returned to his liver. Doctors surgically removed a third of his liver and subsequently placed him on chemotherapy. He’s now living with stage 4 liver cancer.
Keith credits his doctors and nurses, who “convince you somehow, someway through the tenderness in their eyes that you’re gonna make it through this, you just have to fight.”
“They believe in something higher, something at a different level and that level can only be spoken by one word and that’s hope.”
When Keith feels like giving up, he turns to his treatment team including nurse Connie Hanlon, who has been “through thick and thin with me” and Dr. Sophie Dessureault, who he calls “a saint.”
Despite enduring many hardships, Keith says fighting cancer and dealing with the side effects of treatment is the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life.
“The courage that it takes to fight this is something that I didn’t think I had, but I found out that I did have it. And I believe that if I can find the courage that others can too.”