My Why: Gorman Findley

In honor of the V Foundation’s 30th anniversary, we are excited to share stories of inspirational individuals dedicated to achieving Victory Over Cancer®. These stories are told by thrivers, caregivers, donors, partners and other members of the cancer-fighting community sharing in their own words. Join us in being inspired...

How has cancer impacted you?

“I’ve been a caregiver for my wife, Carol, since she was first diagnosed with cancer in June of 1992. I haven’t had to endure her pain of chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries but have experienced the anxiety waiting for the surgeon to emerge from the operating room. The nervousness as we awaited the results of another round of CAT scans, EGDs and X-Ray’s. The concern of watching her daily struggle with the side effects from the years of treatments.

Cancer has been with us every day since her first diagnosis in 1992. First with the scans and tests to determine the extent of her cancer then with the weeks of chemotherapy and radiation followed by abdominal surgery to remove the tumor. My wife’s colon cancer required a colostomy during her first surgery and when her cancer returned in 2010 an ileostomy. Her radiation, chemotherapy and multiple surgeries have caused scaring and adhesions in her abdomen. These have made digesting food a daily challenge. She experiences daily discomfort and pain after eating. Blockages in her digestive tract cause severe pain and possible hospitalization when the obstructions don’t clear. She eats a very limited low residue diet to ease digestion and minimize potential blockages. Each day we are thankful that her cancer was found and twice removed in early stages but mindful of the impacts her treatments and surgeries have on day-to-day life.”

What is your relation to the V Foundation? What made you share your story?

“My wife’s first diagnosis was about the same time as Coach Valvano’s. We often watched the coach on ESPN basketball broadcasts. His speech at the 1993 ESPYs was very moving for both of us. My wife adopted his motto “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up”.  She has tried to stay true to that motto through her everyday challenges. Whether she is experiencing discomfort from eating, anxiety from her yearly scans or dealing with her second diagnosis in 2010 she has never given up.

I shared our story first because of the inspiration Coach Valvano provided in his ESPY speech and second to highlight that even though cancer may not be present in your body the mental and physical impacts from the treatments last a lifetime.”

Why is cancer research important to you?

“My wife’s cancer is a hereditary cancer tied to Lynch Syndrome MSH2. Her father died from cancer, her brother died from cancer, her sister is a two-time survivor of brain cancer. Additional family members in her father’s lineage tree have passed from cancer. My wife’s first cancer diagnosis came when she was 27 years old before we had started a family. The radiation treatments eliminated her ability to have children, but we do have a niece and nephew who now have families of their own. So as Coach Valvano stated in his speech, we hope cancer research can prevent or minimize the impacts of cancer on the future generations.”

What does Victory Over Cancer® mean to you?

“Victory over cancer not only means eliminating cancer in your body but also recognizing and reducing the side effects from cancer treatments. Being cancer free is a celebrated victory for anyone diagnosed with cancer but reducing the side effects from the treatments must also be a goal to improve the lives of all survivors.”

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