In honor of Memorial Day, we want to salute one of our former proton therapy patients and military member, Randy Smith. He served in the military for 21 years and retired in 2011 from the U.S. Air Force as a Special Operations Instructor Pilot. Although Randy had heard about others getting cancer, it was not something he ever thought he would personally deal with. In late July 2016, Randy was diagnosed with Stage 3 throat cancer. “It stopped me in my tracks and I questioned how I got this,” Randy said.
After learning of his diagnosis, many people typically ask Randy if he was a smoker. To the surprise of many, Randy was healthy, never smoked or used tobacco. The only symptom Randy had was a very slight swollen lymph node that wouldn’t go away after several weeks. Randy received a total of 35 treatments at our Proton Therapy Center. He recalls the wonderful customer service he received at our center from Dr. Gunn and his entire team. Marvis helped greatly with the insurance process and his nurse Josh went above and beyond to make the process as seamless as possible for him. “Josh was awesome. He would call me back on his days off if necessary,” Randy said.
Remembering his fellow military friends
Having overcome cancer, it is especially important for Randy to celebrate Memorial Day with his family and friends. During this holiday, Randy reflects about his time in the military and the friends he lost. “A lot of people forget the many sacrifices of our men and women. Memorial Day is an opportunity to remember and not forget the sacrifices that afford us the opportunity to live in a free country,” Randy said. As a former military member and cancer survivor, Randy has learned to not take life for granted. “I’m trying to balance work and life. I make more time for my family because you never know when your day is up,” Randy said.
Today, Randy is back to his active lifestyle. He and his wife, Honey Smith, own and operate a Culver’s Restaurant in Navarre, Florida. After completing his treatment and a brief recovery period, Randy and his family opened their second Culver’s Restaurant in Destin, Florida.
On this Memorial Day holiday, we want to thank Randy and the many brave generations for their service. We salute you all!