Well … no, I haven’t received an Oscar, nor even an Oscar nomination, but if I had, here is what I would say:
Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is awesome! Seven years ago, I never dreamed I would be receiving this award. So many people have contributed to my success, and I need to properly thank them.
First, and most important, I want to thank my God for so richly blessing me. He has granted me a most wonderful sixty-seven years with the hope of many more to come. He is the most wonderful God! He has used so many people to bring me to this point in my life.
Second, I want to thank my lovely and loving wife, Melanie. Without her, I would be but half the man I am today. She has stood beside me through thick and thin, for richer and poorer … you get the point. She is absolutely wonderful.
I need to thank Dr. Manjusha Kota and her staff at the Mercy Cancer Clinic for their fantastic support and treatment for the past seven years. I know I have tried your patience at times. I remember all those times that you all had to find good veins in which to pump the drugs that kept my CLL under control. Dr. Kota, you are the most fabulous doctor I know. You have spent all the time necessary to answer our unceasing questions. You should be up for sainthood.
Thank you to Drs. William Wierda, Tapan Kadia, Issa Khouri, and your staffs for your loving ministration. What can I say? You picked up where Dr. Kota left off. You brought me into the trial drug program that is keeping my CLL under control. You are helping me to a cancer free life. Thank you all.
I’ve never met the people at ABVEE, but I need to thank you as well. You have spent untold hours and dollars developing ABT-199, the drug that is working so well. I don’t know who you are or how many of you there are, but thank you from the depths of my heart for your dedication and research.
Another group of people I have never met but need thanked are the hundreds of thousands of researchers who have worked so diligently to develop treatments past, present, and future that will ultimately lead to the elimination of CLL and other forms of leukemia and lymphoma. May you be richly blessed for your untiring sacrifice.
Thank you also goes to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) and other groups who have helped provide funding and education for research and support. I know how much you have helped me along my journey, both financially and educationally.
I would be remiss in my responsibilities if I failed to mention Rush Limbaugh and the hundreds of thousands who have individually and corporately donated to the cause. Because of you, a cure is just around the corner. Rush, thank you for dedicating a day of your program to raise funds for the research and educational programs of LLS. You are a blessing to so many people you will never get to meet. I’m one of them.
I’ve saved some of the best for last because I want them to know how special they are to me. Thank you Down Town Home Group. You have supported Melanie and me throughout our journey. Lake Valley Community Church, you are a special blessing. You, my brothers and sisters, have supported us not only in prayer and friendship, but financially and physically. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Finally, a special thanks goes to my family: by birth, by marriage, and by “adoption”. I cannot say thank you enough. You are a true blessing to both of us. May your trials never include CLL or any other serious disease.
God bless you all!