AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Over one million people in the United States are currently living with some form of blood cancer, and every 10 minutes someone loses their battle against the disease, according to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
One man in the CSRA is helping raise money and awareness for the LLS in the CSRA, and he isn't your average supporter.
Dean Beasley works as the Director of the Inpatient Rehab Center at Doctor's Hospital, but in 2001 he had to go for a co-worker for help with a medical problem of his own.
"I had been having very chronic back pain that they could not figure out where it was coming from, and finally a neurologist that was working with me did another MRI scan and he found that I had a tumor on my spine," Beasley said.
He was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and started going through the normal rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.
"This is a cancer that does not immediately take your life, it's not life threatening. But the bad news is there's not a cure for it, most blood related cancers don't have cures," said Beasley.
After a flare up two years later, Dean had to go for another treatment method. But his doctor wanted to try something new.
"His nurse told me he had decided to try something totally different called Rituxan. Rituxan was a new drug that had been just developed in part with research funds from the Leukemia Lymphoma Society," he said.
The Rituxan is administered through an IV treatment. It's been working for Dean, and now he receives it every six months to help keep the Non-Hodgkins under control.
Since his diagnosis, Dean has started working with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society here in the CSRA. Their annual Light the Night Walk is coming up in September, and this year he will be recognized as the Honored Hero.
"They said 'You're story is different because you've worked with the society for many years as a fundraiser, but you've always had the blood related cancer going on, and you've benefited from a drug the research dollars helped fund,' " Beasley said.
Close to 2,000 people are expected to be at the walk this year, and Dean says the amount of support from the community is extremely humbling.
"To stand there and look out and see all those people standing there, when they start raising the different color balloons, it's just overwhelming to see that," he said with a smile.
Dean said since his diagnosis, he doesn't worry about the small stuff anymore.
"It's being able to get up, and go to work, or get up and go to church, or get up and spend time with your family and knowing that you've got another day to do something with," Beasley said.
He encourages everyone that can to come out to the walk to see that every dollar to the LLS helps raise money for medicine, just like the one that's helping him.