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Gerry and Linda Schafer

by Mary Ruth last modified Apr 01, 2011 02:32 PM
A N.C. Cancer Hospital Commemorative tile purchased to celebrate Gerry's birthday will help expand services, programs and research in the new hospital.
Gerry and Linda Schafer

Gerry Schafer with his daughter, Heather

Sometimes there are no symptoms with cancer. Gerry Schafer was 47-years-old when an x-ray for his kidney stone revealed a suspicious shadow. Even though five doctors said it was nothing, Gerry and his wife Linda persevered for a definitive answer. They got it – lymphoma. The Schafers described the feeling as "being run over by a train in slow motion."

Gerry's first transplant used his own stem cells, but it failed. He would have to endure another transplant. It came on New Year’s Eve and this time the donor was a stranger, but Gerry’s resolve was failing. Linda, determined to give him the spirit he needed to fight, told him, "You will live to help others and you will take me to Vegas."

Today, Gerry is a six year survivor. And that trip to Vegas? They won a car. But what means the most to them is that they are living life and helping others. To them every day is a gift and gives you the opportunity, big or small, to make someone else's day.

To commemorate Gerry's struggle and his life, Linda purchased a N.C. Cancer Hospital Tile as a birthday present for him. The tile reads: "In Honor of Gerry, who lived to help others." This gift helps the N.C. Cancer Hospital expand patient support services and critical programs and supports faculty and clinical research priorities.