Father’s Day an unexpected celebration for Byron dairy farmer
Looking back on the day he was diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2009, Warren Hunt can now say it was among the best days of his life.
“If they hadn’t found it, I wouldn’t have made it this far,” he says.
He was 42 years old then and had been married only a few months. He was busy running his family’s dairy farm in Byron, Genesee County, and looking forward to starting a family of his own. But after noticing blood in his stool, he went to the doctor at the urging of his wife Lauren.
The diagnosis came as a shock. Hunt had no history of cancer in his family, and he was much younger than most people who are diagnosed with rectal cancer.
“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” he says.
After six weeks of radiation and oral chemotherapy at Wilmot Cancer Institute at Park Ridge in Greece, Warren underwent surgery and more chemo. Through it all, he kept working, even if it was only for part of a day. It helped keep his spirits up and keep him focused on getting well.
“You can have a hard day, but tomorrow’s a new day and you can fight harder,” he says.
Hunt’s treatment lasted nearly two years. During that time, his doctors had told him that he might not be able to have children.
But five years ago, he and his wife had their first baby girl, Hannah. Then over the next three years, they had two more girls, Hailey and Heidi.
The Hunts were thrilled to become parents, but their fight with cancer was not over.
In 2014, after years of regular scans with no signs of disease, Hunt learned that his cancer had spread to his lungs. He underwent surgery and had more chemotherapy and radiation.
Today he’s doing well and celebrating Father’s Day with Lauren and the girls. He’s grateful for the support of his family and friends.
“You don’t have to go through this alone,” Hunt says.
And, he says, don’t be embarrassed to see your doctor if you have worrisome symptoms such as blood in your stool or changes in bowel habits.
“Listen to your body,” he says. “When something doesn’t feel right, don’t turn a deaf ear to it.”
Lydia Fernandez |