UCHealth © Copyright 2016

 

Jeb Schroder 

Jeb Schroder has been through more in his life than most 19-year-olds.

He and his family live and work on their farm in southeast Colorado where they grow crops, raise cattle and work hard. But that’s not what makes Jeb different.

In the summer between graduating high school and starting college, Jeb Schroder began coughing a lot and experiencing back pain. At first, he thought it was an old football injury.

In December 2015, Jeb returned home from college and his pain had gotten worse. A series of hospital visits had unfortunately revealed nothing and Jeb’s pain continued to worsen.

In January of 2016, Jeb was airlifted by helicopter to UCHealth, and his diagnosis was complete two days later. Jeb had testicular cancer. His treatment began immediately. First, he had a procedure to remove several blood clots from his lungs. There the team discovered that the cancer had also spread into his lungs. Which explained Jeb’s back pain.

Jeb rested in the ICU for three days, then immediately began the first of four, five-day cycles of chemotherapy. And in June, UCHealth Oncologist Doctor Lam performed an orchiectomy to remove his affected testicle. Throughout his treatment, Jeb lost and gained nearly 70 pounds. And now Dr. Lam says things are looking good. There’s no residual tumor. But Jeb’s not entirely out of the woods just yet. He still has several follow-ups and potential surgeries to make sure he’s on track to a full recovery.

If this sounds like a lot, it is. And it hasn’t always been easy. But when you see Jeb and his family together you immediately can feel how close they are. They smile a lot and exude love, happiness and togetherness. It’s admirable, and no doubt the root of what has held them through this journey.

They are also a family of faith. Counting on prayer and love to help carry them along this path they have found themselves on. And they are so outwardly grateful for the care and attention they’ve received from those at UCHealth. But what’s perhaps even more remarkable is to see the impact Jeb has made on the staff that cared for him.

Jeb is an example of an everyday person whose story is so inspiring it makes you take pause. And his story is exactly why we created Moments to Shine. So that families like the Schroders might have a few great moments to take their minds off of all they’re going through and do something they truly love.

We hope you enjoyed your special evening at the Rockies game, Jeb. You and your family have shown us what family is all about, and that when you surround yourselves with the people who truly care for you, you can knock anything out of the park.

Jeb hopes his story can create awareness around testicular cancer and the benefits of self-examination and early detection.

We know that it takes a team to improve just one life. And this team is usually made up of more than just doctors and clinicians. It includes family members and close friends who carry us through. It involves caregivers and community members, whose mission is to serve through caring.

Healing goes beyond the typical modes of health care. And we recognize that this whole team helps a person heal – mind, soul and body. 

Through arrangements with our community partners, UCHealth wants to honor those healing and those who brighten their lives by giving them a special experience that celebrates them – their very own Moment to Shine.

Your Moment

So here’s your moment. Decide now that you want to be well and stay well.

The key is to make healthy life choices that help you manage and reduce your risk of disease. Here are some topics that might help you get there:

If this sounds like a lot, we can help you get started. Make an appointment with a primary care doctor who can help you set and achieve your health and wellness goals.

Learn about Testicular Cancer

Compared to other types of cancer, testicular cancer is actually rare. It’s most commonly found in American males between the ages of 15 and 35.

Regular self-exams can help you find cancer early, which leads to more options and better chances of beating the disease. Testicular cancer is usually highly treatable, even when cancer has spread beyond the testicle.

You should see your doctor if you have any pain, swelling or lumps in your testicles or groin area, especially if these symptoms last longer than two weeks.

You might have an increased risk if:

  • You have an undescended testicle.
  • You have abnormal testicle development, such as Klinefelter’s syndrome.
  • You have a family history of testicular cancer.
  • You are between ages 15 to 35.

Have concerns? Schedule a check-up with your doctor.

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From the bright look on her face, you wouldn’t know that ten-year-old Cheyenne is in the fight of her life.

In January 2015, Cheyenne came home from school with a bump on her throat that appeared out of nowhere. Doctors soon discovered that it was a fast-growing cancer and began aggressive treatments. And ever since then, she has been fighting cancer, as she puts it, “like a girl”.

Cheyenne hasn’t let cancer hold her back, but instead faces each day with such positivity and determination that it has inspired us deeply -- which is why we wanted to give her, her family and care team their own Moment to Shine.

We could all learn a lot from this sixth grader, who sees her journey as a chance to change the world. In fact, since her diagnosis, she has become a loud champion in bringing awareness to childhood cancer.

Continue to shine brightly, Cheyenne! And keep kickin’ cancer’s butt!

Cheyenne Dyess

Delvin Daugherty

If you walked a mile in Delvin “Red” Daugherty’s shoes, you’d get a crash course on endurance.

In fall of 2014, Red was working as a painter when he fell off a ladder and broke his leg. The fracture was so complex that it required plates and screws to put his bones back together again. But as his leg was healing, he got a serious infection and was facing the possibility of amputation. So he went to the UCHealth Limb Restoration Center with the hopes that they could save his leg.

For Red, limb restoration was a marathon. First, a team of doctors and clinicians had to remove the hardware holding his bones together and clear out the infection. Then, they had to piece his bones back together again, which included grafting a stomach muscle to cover the wound. And finally, he put in the time and effort to regain function of his leg.

And now two years later, Red has a fully restored leg. He says that he moves a little slower than what he used to, but that he’s grateful that he can still go.

In his Moment to Shine, Red led the way at the UCHealth Warning Track 1K at Coors Field, walking alongside Colorado Rockies players and a few thousand fans. Thank you, Red, for showing us what it looks like to go the distance.

Watch Delvin's story

Justin's StoryDelvin's StoryJeb's Story

Justin Boley lit the Olympic torch and then took the run of his life -- his stride carrying him down Boulder Street, past UCHealth Memorial Hospital, where he comes every other Monday for chemotherapy.

That Justin ran is triumphant enough. The cancer that has moved from his brain to his spine is a formidable opponent. Yet in the days since he found out he had a terminal cancer, Justin has been running his life with the same kind of vigor, determination and enthusiasm that drives an Olympic athlete.

The 24-year-old lit the flame and met Olympians in his Moment to Shine. Though, his prize is not gold or silver but each day.

Diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in February 2015, Justin feels strongly about encouraging other people with terminal illness not to give up, and to take advantage of every day. He had brain surgery on his 23rd birthday, and later learned that he had glioblastoma, a cancer that grows rapidly and has no cure.

In the following weeks, Justin’s tumor was reduced by a combination of chemo and radiation and a device called Optune, which targets dividing cancer cells. But glio cancer cells inevitably produce reoccurring tumors, and Justin learned in March that the cancer had spread to his spinal cord.

Since his diagnosis, Justin has traveled to Australia – his favorite moment – and gone sky diving and surfing. He’s also planning a trip to California to meet up with some of his old friends, doing whatever he can to live life to the fullest.

We are inspired by your bigger-than-life spirit, Justin, and it is our privilege to celebrate you.

Justin Boley

Watch Cheyenne's story

Cheyenne's Story

Carmen Washington

At halftime of the Oct. 9 Denver Broncos game, Carmen was on the field with 125 survivors as part of the Broncos’ “Salute to Survivors” – individuals who have fought back against cancer. 

On July 2015, Carmen noticed an indentation on the right side of her right breast. She did what everyone should do when something's not right - she got it checked out.

That turned out to be a very good decision. A biopsy revealed a large cancerous nodule caused by a mutation of the HER2 gene. Carmen cried at first. She didn't understand how this could happen.

But then she thought about her daughter, Jasmine, and her focus and attitude turned. She said, "Let’s do this. Let’s get aggressive treatment. I want to see my daughter grow. She’s the most important person in my life.” Carmen took eight months off to fight her cancer.

She has some challenges ahead of her, but Carmen's positive attitude doesn't waiver. She wants everyone to know out about the importance of self-exams. "Don’t wait for your annual check-up. Put it on your calendar or your cell phone as a reminder."

Read Carmen's full story >

Carmen's Story