By Nikki Ross Inda
Chrys Bundy never imagined that abdominal pain would completely change his life. But in June 2015, the discomfort escalated quickly, sending him to the hospital, where doctors discovered a mass in his abdomen. Shocked by this news and frustrated by the lack of answers to his questions, a good friend encouraged Bundy to make an appointment at Moffitt Cancer Center, where his oncologist determined he had non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Over the course of six months, Bundy underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy. Today, he is cancer free thanks to the exceptional treatment he received at Moffitt.
“I can’t begin to describe how different my experience was at Moffitt compared to other hospitals. The proactive scheduling, the availability of my treatment team, the compassion and professionalism was out of this world,” said Bundy. “I didn’t think a lot about the cancer. It was six months of my life that were incredibly difficult physically, but I always knew my entire care team, not just an answering service, was a phone call away.”
Thankfully throughout his cancer journey, Bundy had his biggest fan by his side, his husband, Robert. “Had I gotten sick, perhaps in a less inclusive part of the country that wasn’t as accepting of my husband, he likely would not have been permitted to stay overnight in my hospital room or interact with my doctors and nurses as my caregiver,” Bundy said.
In an effort to contribute to the community that supported him through one of the most difficult times of his life, Bundy joined the team of organizers at St. Pete Pride in 2017. The following year, he accepted an opportunity to become the president of Florida’s largest LGBTQ Pride Parade. “This sounds cheesy, but I love this town and I love this community. I wanted to give back to the place that welcomed both me and my husband,” said Bundy.
With a full term under his belt as St. Pete Pride president, Bundy is proud of his team’s accomplishments. “Our records indicate 260,000 people attended events during Pride week. We are also very proud of our community grants program, which gives back tens of thousands of dollars to LGBTQ-focused community programs each year.”
Through Unity@Moffitt, the cancer center has been an ally of St. Pete Pride for several years. Moffitt’s commitment to diversity has led to a No. 3 ranking on DiversityInc’s Top Hospitals & Health Systems list and designation as an LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader.
On Aug. 3, Bundy participated in a VIP experience at Tropicana Field when the Tampa Bay Rays honored him through the Salute to Survivors program. “I don’t really think of myself as a ‘survivor.’ I mean, I guess I am. Seeing it in black and white on the jumbotron at a game was incredibly emotional. Moffitt was able to right the ship and I always knew I was going to make it.”