Patient Stories


Gastrointestinal Cancer

Dan chose proton therapy to treat Stage 2 and 3 rectal cancer. But this was not his first bout with cancer. In 2006, he was diagnosed with melanoma first, then sarcoma later in the same year. Three years after that, he fought through prostate cancer. So, his time at Provision was actually his fourth time battling cancer.

“You don’t feel like a patient here,” said Dan. “You feel like a guest.”

Besides needing to make sure he took a nap before working the night shift, Dan says proton therapy didn’t hamper his lifestyle. Proton therapy attacks cancer cells and minimizes damage to nearby healthy tissue and organs, lowering the risk of side effects. Dan says the clinical benefits, along with the Culture of Care he experienced as a patient, made his fourth battle with cancer a lot more manageable.

His doctor prescribed chemotherapy and radiation to shrink the tumor prior to surgical removal. With his “look” an important part of who he is, Dan opted for “light” chemo in order to preserve his hair and beard. He then came to Provision based on the recommendation of a friend who’d had proton therapy for prostate cancer. He credits his wife, Joy, with supporting him through each of his bouts with cancer, as well as the rest of his life.

From country music radio to Santa Claus, Dan’s career has been very eclectic. Originally from North Carolina, he got his start in radio at age 13, hosting a one-hour Saturday show on his local small-town station. He eventually landed in Tennessee at the Knoxville country music station WIVK, where he worked the news desk, gave traffic reports as the “Eye in the Sky,” and hosted a four-hour weekend show called the “Sunday Survey.”

During his time there, Dan got to know Dolly Parton, Larry Gatlin, Ronnie Milsap, Dan Seals, and other well-known country music stars. One time, the Statler Brothers were listening to WIVK as they drove through Knoxville and stopped by the station to sing Dan “Happy Birthday.” Every two months, he traveled to the Grand Old Opry, where he hung out backstage, meeting Nashville’s greatest stars. Later he worked for FM and AM stations based in Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park in Sevierville, Tennessee.

On evenings during the Christmas season, Dan grows out his beard and hair and plays Santa at Shadrack Christmas Wonderland at the Tennessee Smokies baseball stadium in Sevierville. It’s a job he takes very seriously. He’s a member of the Tennessee Santa Association, has attended “Santa University,” and gets his beard and hair colored snowy white each year to complete his Christmas transformation. The rest of the year, Dan drives transport vehicles for Chariots of Hire, chauffeuring groups on tours and mission trips as far away as California.

“If I had a nine-to-five job, I would probably go crazy,” he quipped.

Provision helped Dan beat gastrointestinal cancer

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