Veteran fights cancer for second time
“I not only had the benefit of donated blood once, I’ve had the benefit of it twice; both helping to heal me and help me in my fight with cancer.”
Jim Vieth, a Fort Thomas, Kentucky husband, father, and grandfather to six grandsons, battled cancer for the second time after overcoming a struggle with leukemia.
The brave Vietnam veteran was first diagnosed with prostate cancer before receiving the disheartening news in 2011 he had developed leukemia.
Jim was in the hospital for eight weeks and would only go home for short periods of time before he would be back on the hospital floor for chemo treatments or blood transfusions.
“They gave me blood at that time because it was critical to keep my white blood cells and platelets in line,” Jim said.
He would have a blood workup every day to determine whether he needed more blood or platelets.
“Over that period of time I received quite a few transfusions and I was always appreciative of it, especially because I can’t give blood because I got hepatitis when I was in the Marine Corps back in the 1970s,” he said. “So I was always appreciative because I used a lot of (blood) and couldn’t help in any way.”
Jim said people who donate blood have forever changed his life.
“It helped keep me alive,” he said. “It was a critical part of my treatment.”
Though Jim was in remission from prostate cancer, he found out in 2013 the cancer had returned and metastasized in his ribs.
He’s was treated with chemotherapy every three weeks and received blood between treatments to help him with severe anemia.
“I’m getting blood again on a regular basis which really, really, really means a lot to me because it really perks me up,” Jim said. “I go from walking with a cane or a walker and having spells when I fall down, to when I get the blood I am back to normal; I don’t need my cane I get around easier and it really means a lot to me.”
Jim said he can’t appreciate the act of donating enough.
“I admire people who give blood,” he said. “I just think that it’s a wonderful thing to do and I wish I personally could do the same thing because I know with my case, when I go to the doctor’s office I see all these other faces there and I know how many people are benefitting from the blood, and this is just people being treated with cancer but there are so many other reasons people out there need blood.”
*Jim fought hard but sadly lost his battle with cancer. When he was interviewed for this story he wanted to leave donors with one last message.
“I just think it’s a very special thing for people to be that generous to take the time and give.”