PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) About every four minutes, someone new is diagnosed with some form of blood cancer.
And with more than one million people in the United State living with or in remission from blood cancer, the need is critical to one day find a cure.
Those numbers are from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Meet Bruce Walters, Junior and Danny VanHoose, who are two prominent figures in Eastern Kentucky that share a special bond.
“Before I even got checked into a room, my doctor took me and my wife back into a room and told me, I had been diagnosed with Leukemia,” Bruce said.
“[The doctor] looks at Eric and says, ‘You’ve tested positive for Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Danny said.
And just like that, both men’s lives were changed forever.
“I had symptoms, I had fatigue, bruising that led me to go to my family doctor,” Bruce added.
A few days later, Bruce was admitted to the hospital with Leukemia, where he spent 15 days on a ventilator. But it was Bruce’s diagnoses that sparked a conversation with Danny and his then 21 year old son, Eric.
“I remember saying, ‘You just never know,’ and my son said, ‘Yeah, it’s kind of like this knot on my neck,’ that was the first I knew that he had a knot on his neck,” Danny added.
One man, watching his son fight for his life, the other, fighting for his own.
“When he was laying on his side with his knees pulled up and they were extracting the bone marrow from the lower part of his back, he was gripping my hand. He’s got a pretty good grip, but at that moment, I wouldn’t have cared if he would have broke it,” Danny said.
“We did a lot of crying and a lot of praying. We were certainly blessed and fortunate to get the outcome that we got,” Bruce said.
They are now using their stories to help promote awareness about blood cancers in Eastern Kentucky with the help of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through their Light the Night event on Thursday, September 12th at Pikeville City Park at 6:30 p.m.
Both Bruce and Eric have completed their treatments and both are now in remission.
How to register:
To register online, click on the Light the Night website below.
Click Create Team, Join team, or Walk as an individual.
Using the drop-down button, select “Kentucky”
Click on “Lexington”
Click on “Register”
Fill out your information
When asked for a Team Name, place a “(P)” (for Pikeville) at the end of your team name. Example: Team Brittany (P)
For more information about how to register, call 502-584-8490.