Cancer is feared by almost everyone. With all the different forms of this disease that exist, it is nearly impossible for any one person not to know someone who has been drastically affected by cancer. My own family has seen case after case. Breast cancer, skin cancer, brain cancer, and other forms have stricken those close to me. It is because of this that I find the story of James “Rhio” O’Connor so very inspiring. When someone is faced with any form of cancer it is frightening to say the least. But when someone is faced with type of cancer that is considered terminal, there is really no word that can describe how someone might feel upon hearing they only have so long to live. The story of James O’Connor gives hope to people all over the world who are faced with terminal cancer.
Mesothelioma is the rare form of cancer that eventually took the life of “Rhio” O’Connor. Since I worked in the automotive industry for nearly 10 years I had knowledge of this disease, and was amazed to learn how “Rhio” was able to overcome the adversity he was faced with. Before I had heard the story of “Rhio”, I still thought mesothelioma was just that scary form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure that I learned about while working in the automotive service industry. There were many people that had worked for the same company that I had that were exposed to asbestos in earlier years when certain automotive parts were still composed of asbestos. So mesothelioma was something that was a topic of discussion from time to time. Until recently, I didn’t realize the strides that have been made in the research and treatments for mesothelioma. James “Rhio” O’Connor was in many ways a pioneer in the study of this disease and has given hope to so many, where hope was once nearly non-existent. The way “Rhio” fought and persevered through his time with this disease is nothing short of unbelievable to me. He did everything he could to work with doctors and researchers using existing treatments and new treatments he helped develop to prolong his life as much as possible. In doing this he paved the way for so many, and has helped more people than he could have ever imagined. By going to this site www.survivingmesothelioma.com you can see for yourself how far the medical industry has come in dealing with this once thought incurable disease. Thanks to people like James “Rhio” O’Connor, strides are being made daily in the research of all types of cancer, and hope is now becoming more prevalent all over the world for people who are affected by this horrible disease.
I also am given hope by the story of “Rhio”. I recently was faced with the prospect of possibly having cancer. Having dizzy spells, trouble with slurred speech, and difficulty walking correctly had led doctors to believe that it was very possible that I could have a brain tumor, especially with the history of cancer in my family. The MRI revealed that I had Multiple Sclerosis and not a brain tumor. But no matter what the disease, hearing about a man like James O’Connor and how he handled his situation is truly inspiring. I too now am learning everything I can about MS and what I can do to live normally as long as possible. So if someone asks what they should do when they are faced with a frightening disease, the answer is easy, “everything you can”!! And I will just tell them the story of James “Rhio” O’Connor, and how the time to quit is never. Thanks for reading.
By: Atkinson, Jerrod W.