Brain cancer should have killed Greg Cantwell within two years. He has lived with it for nine years, and he calls it a gift, says USA Today.
Greg was 30 years old, working as an Operations Manager at Northwest Airlines, father of an 8 month old son when it happened. He had a seizure and was raced to the hospital to learn he had a stage four tumor in his brain. His now ex-wife had ignored his struggle with cancer and they divorced. The Des Moine Register says it was in 2008 that he woke to a new way of life:
“Why am I here? I shouldn’t be here. God must have a good reason. So in the first week of 2009 I started a website for cancer survivors. I had thousands of hits the first months. I started to go visit them in Cleveland, in Chicago, any place I knew someone that had a brain tumor community.”
The Des Moines, Iowa resident met his wife Lisa online and they have been married since 2009. Lisa said he made her laugh.
Lisa has cystic fibrosis, and has an equal chance to live to see tomorrow. Greg travels all over the world and visits people with brain cancer, all for free. Lisa works at the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, helping match people with bone marrow.
Both of them are very aware of their situation, and instead of moping over it, they help others make the best of it.
Greg runs a web site to help his cause at www.gregsmission.org, dedicating it to keeping a positive mindset in the face of certain death. In the midst of grim and depressing sites on the subject, his shines with promise and the headline:
“Winning the fight of your life!”
“He feels really lucky he survived and a lot of people didn’t. He is doing this out of thanks.”
She also adds:
“You know life is short. Regardless of brain tumors, cystic fibrosis, bad liver, anyone can be hit by a bus tomorrow. We may be at higher risk, but we’re just thankful for what we have every day and try to live life to its fullest every day.”
Greg says of his travels to Europe and Australia:
“Those things you can’t put off. Nobody should. You never know. Don’t put anything off.”
“They look at me and think, ‘he is alive.’ I have beat it — well, not beat it — but I’m living with it. So seeing is believing.”
Lisa wraps it up nicely:
“If it comes back, we will deal with it. There is no sense worrying about it. We just get out and enjoy the time we have.”