By Contributing Writer - November 09, 2020
Growing up as a hardworking student in New York, Perry Limes was unsure of which career path he wanted to pursue. But he found inspiration within his own family.
“I saw many of my family members come home from the military with purpose and determination,” Limes recalled. “I felt the military would help me achieve some balance and guidance.”
Limes kept the family tradition of service alive. On July 11, 1963, Limes, like his predecessors, enlisted in the United States Air Force. years later, he was sent to Vietnam.
During his seven years in the Air Force, he was trained to repair communications equipment, radios mounted on jeeps and anything electronic. It helped prepare him for life after the military where he worked for equipment manufacturer Burroughs Corporation repairing computers — but not before Perry re-enlisted to go back to Vietnam to help his fellow comrades and country.
Ultimately Limes wanted more work stability and better benefits for his growing family, so he joined the New York Police Department. He worked his way up from patrol to anti-crime and then was promoted to sergeant. He was proud of becoming the administrative liaison supervisor at the New York City Police Academy.
Limes was passionate about helping those who could not help or protect themselves. After 16 years on the force, he suffered an injury causing him to go on disability. He retired from the NYPD in 1989.
Limes was ready to leave New York’s cold winters.
When he was previously stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, his family fell in love with Busch Gardens, Disney and Florida. So, they moved to the Sunshine State.
Then his wife, Aurea, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I realized that we, as a family, had no knowledge of cancer, its causes, its treatments, nor did many of our family and friends,” said Limes. It led him to join Moffitt Cancer Center in 2003.
Limes held a variety of positions at Moffitt including working with educational outreach programs. He became a pro speaking at churches, synagogues or anywhere people would gather, speaking on cancer prevention topics.
But in December 2015 during a routine check-up at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, Limes received unexpected news. His doctor noticed an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Six months later, he was diagnosed with stage 1 prostate cancer.
“I felt like someone punched me in the gut,” Limes said. “I had led a healthy lifestyle and I thought they could be wrong.
“There is always the fear of the unknown; not knowing if you will survive. So I prayed first, then I sought knowledge. I did not want my cancer to be an unknown entity.”
Having worked at Moffitt, Limes knew he had options. He became a patient in Moffitt’s Genitourinary Oncology Program under the care of Dr. Dan Fernandez.
Limes made the decision to undergo brachytherapy, a type of radiation therapy delivered inside the body with radioactive seeds placed near the tumor. Today he is cancer free.
Throughout his cancer journey, Limes never lacked support.
“My children and grandchildren were in constant contact,” Limes said thankfully. “My siblings and I text each other every morning and every night.”
His cancer diagnosis helped him prioritize the importance of people over things. God and family received all his energy, and material things were no longer important.
Limes found additional comfort by attending a support group at the veterans hospital for vets living with cancer.
Having suffered from Agent Orange exposure during his time in Vietnam, he continues to lean on his loving family and on his favorite quote, “This too shall pass.”
MOFFITT CANCER CENTER’S
VIRTUAL VETERANS DAY CEREMONY
WHO: The public is invited to watch our virtual ceremony
WHAT: We will honor our heroic veterans, active duty team members and patients
WHEN: 9 a.m. Nov. 11
WHERE: Click here to join the virtual ceremony, or join Moffitt Cancer Center’s Facebook Live event