Local Harley Riding High School Teacher
Says “Thank You!”

Greg Roberts was no stranger to the HSHS St. Vincent Cancer Center.  As the Director of the local H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) Chapter, he’s been part of the ‘Jerry Parins Cruise for Cancer’ – a benefit that has raised more than $1 million for the Cancer Center - for a number of years.

“Back in 2012, our group was invited to tour the Cancer Center and see the amazing things our donations made possible for patients.  The things we saw were incredible, but during the tour I leaned over to Jerry Parins and said ‘I never ever want to experience anything like this in my life’.”  Little did Greg know at the time that he was about to become more familiar with the Cancer Center and the critical services it provides to patients.

“Being a High School Business teacher, football coach, and President of the H.O.G. Chapter, I talk a lot.  Beginning in 2012, I noticed that my voice would crack from time to time.  And other people – my students and my friends - started noticing it, too.  I was 45 years old - well past puberty - so I knew something wacky must be going on.  But I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time.”

“After weeks of putting it off, I finally went to the doctor in early 2013.  My doctor was able to confirm there was something going on, but neither of us were too concerned.  After all, I was young, healthy, and didn’t smoke.   There was just a 1% chance that it could be cancer.  We set up an appointment for a biopsy, though, just to get a better handle on what was going on.”

“I took a solo motorcycle trip to Alaska and when I returned I went in for my appointment.  They performed the procedure and told me they would follow up with me in 7 to 10 days.  The phone rang the next day, I saw it was the hospital and thought ‘this can’t be good’.”

“When someone says ‘you have cancer’ there is an initial shock that kicks in.  You think ‘I’m going to die’ and then you start to think about all of the things left undone.”

“I’ve been a very fortunate person.  I’ve lived a full and incredible life.  When the initial shock wore off, I sat back and realized that I’ve accomplished everything I’ve ever wanted to do.  I’ve been all across the United States on my motorcycle.  I have healthy and happy children that I’m proud of.  I have my dream job – teaching High School students.  So I wasn’t afraid of the things left undone.  Instead I was thinking of how I could use this situation to help others.”

Greg sat down with his Cancer Care team and went over his options.  “The nurse told me ‘we are going to take care of this.  We’re going to beat this.’ and I believed her,” he says.  

Ultimately, Greg opted for surgery.  He underwent the procedure – just 12 days after his diagnosis.

“After the procedure I couldn’t talk at all.  It was part of the healing process.  And let me tell you – it was tough!  You should have seen me – I had a little white board and notecards to write on.  But guess what?  It was worth it.  I’ve been cancer-free for two years now and couldn’t be more grateful!”

Greg now serves as a resource to others who are battling cancer.  He’s even working to create a foundation that will help people starting their cancer journey - just as he had two years ago.  And the wonderful care he received from caregivers at the HSHS St. Vincent Cancer Center – and the dedicated donors like you who support their work – is his biggest inspiration.

“To the Cancer Center donors, I say this: thank you so much! As someone who saw what it is like on the other side I can honestly tell you that when you make a gift to the St. Vincent Cancer Center you aren’t giving money, you’re giving hope.”

Thank you to Greg and to the wonderful donors who do so much to help our cancer patients!  You make a huge difference!

(Have you or a loved one ever received care at one of our hospitals?  If so, we would love to hear your story!  Please contact Matt Astleford at 920-433-8055 for more information.)

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