A Quality Life: Rock Man Willie’s Rectal Cancer Story

At an infusion clinic in Dayton, Ohio—which provides chemotherapy treatment to cancer patients—there’s a man known by all as “Rock Man Willie.” When he’s there, Willie stops at each infusion station to chat with people who could use a good distraction. With him are an array of small hand-painted rocks he’s designed himself which he hands out to cheer up those facing cancer. In return for these support rocks, Willie only asks for one thing from each recipient: a smile.

Bringing a smile to others is Rock Man Willie’s mission. But his journey to finding his own happiness has been fraught with ups and downs. In 2014, when he was 41-years-old, Willie was diagnosed with Stage IV Rectal Adenocarcinoma. The severe pain caused by the illness as well as symptoms from cancer treatment left him frustrated and debilitated. A four-year uphill climb led his oncologist to refer him to medical specialists who could help him regain his quality of life while continuing to fight the cancer.

This is Rock Man Willie’s palliative care story.

Hosted by Dan Altano

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