Cancer survivor strives to be the light he didn’t have

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – On Saturday, thousands of cancer survivors, patients, and families aim to bring light to the darkness of cancer through the “Light the Night” walk. It will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Survivor Thomas Goode used the pain of his diagnosis to bring hope to others.

“I’m not supposed to be here. I’m not supposed to be here. When I was diagnosed, the average lifespan for newly diagnosed patients was three to five years,” he said. “So, part of my journey is to overcome these odds so I don’t want to be that statistic.”

Back in 2005, life got real for Goode. A picture of health at the age of 34. After some nagging shoulder pain, and a second opinion, he then heard a doctor say four scary words: “you have multiple myeloma.”

“When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you always think that cancer is a death sentence,” Goode said. “My faith, my family, my friends — I went through this phase where my will is greater than my quit.”

Multiple myeloma is most common among African Americans 65 years or older. So, Goode had age going for him. What he didn’t have was luck. For several years, he went through radiation and a cocktail of medications. He had three separate stem cell transplants after relapses.

Now, almost 15 years later, his scans are clear.

“I’m playing with house money now, so now it’s like longevity,” Goode said. “So, now I look toward the future, so now that’s my part of giving back.”

That giving back starts with being an advocate for others like him. Goode is a mainstay with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He helps lead others through the darkness of cancer. He was on hand last week to kick off the Patient Light the Night Walk at Duke Cancer Institute. He will also be on hand Saturday.

Many survivors appreciate Goode’s help, but he believes he gives something else.

“To give hope. That’s what I do,” Goode said. “When I was diagnosed, I didn’t have this. I didn’t have no one to come and say, ‘Hey, here’s what you can expect.”

The Light the Night Walk is Saturday night at Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary.

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