How Your Support Helped Richard Beat Two Tumors

Richard is a military artist. He loves painting airplanes and restoring vintage planes.

One day, after returning home from helping a friend with his airplane, Richard woke up with stomach cramps. Thinking it was something he ate, he went to the bathroom and — to his horror — passed bright-red blood and dark-black clots. 

He suffered for hours, and early the next morning, he went to the ER. The doctor on duty thought it was probably a kidney stone. They told him to drink lots of water. But he couldn’t urinate. 

Still hurting, he was admitted into the hospital for tests, and met with a urologist, who delivered the news.

“Mr. Thompson,” the doctor said, “I’m sorry to tell you, but you have a tumor in each kidney.”

Richard responded, “Doctor, I don’t stand for defeat. I guarantee you, I will prevail!” Richard’s battle with cancer had begun. 

Usually that would mean removal of his kidneys, dialysis, and a two-year wait for a transplant. But instead, the urologist referred Richard to Dr. Philippe Spiess at Moffitt. 

“There’s no one I trust more,” Richard said of Dr. Spiess. “It’s amazing to meet someone so young with his caliber of expertise.”

On the day of the surgery to remove the tumor from Richard’s left kidney, he talked with Dr. Spiess. “Doctor,” Richard said, “are you ready for this day? He said, ‘I am. Are you?’ I said, ‘Yes, we will be victorious.’”

In that operation, Dr. Spiess removed the tumor, saving 70 percent of the kidney. Several weeks later, he operated again to remove the other tumor. He saved 30 percent of that kidney.

Today, four years later, Richard is cancer-free. 

 “From the moment you come to Moffitt,” Richard said, “it’s clear that this is a place for healing. I’ve never seen such commitment, such focus on the eradication of cancer.”

It’s stories of victory like this that make your support so vital. Thank you for all you do. 

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