Shortly after being diagnosed with stage 3 vocal cord cancer in 2011, Bob Crum and his wife, Tish, went to a SPOHNC-Rochester support group meeting for those with oral, head and neck cancer at Wilmot Cancer Institute.
They wanted to see what it was all about - and they are so glad they did.
Instantly, they made connections with members of the group. Not only did they receive meaningful support from others in the group who'd been through a similar diagnosis, but they also found out they had family connections with some of the other attendees. The group helped him so much before he had surgery that he calls one particular fellow member his "hero" for the support provided.
He underwent surgery and radiation therapy, which wasn't easy and meant difficult side effects, such as irritated skin. Once his active treatment ended, he remained part of the SPOHNC group, but now he works to support others. He provides a listening ear, helpful advice and a great sense of humor.
During a dinner earlier this month, the group honored Bob with the SPOHNC-Champion Award. It's given to those who've made an important contribution to helping the group.
April is Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month and Bob wanted to share this message with all who will listen: “If you have any concern about your voice, go and get it checked out because in early stages, they can do wonders but once it gets spread, they end up doing major surgery.”