Niagara Gazette

Columns

April 7, 2014

CITY DESK: Trying to lend a hand

Niagara Gazette — Jim Gravelle does everything they tell you to do. 

He eats right, exercises regularly and doesn’t smoke.

Other than the occasional beer, he’s not a big drinker either.

Which is why it came as quite a shock last year when doctors told Jim that he had a rare, cancerous tumor wrapped around his vertebra threatening to spread to his brain.

The diag- nosis — Lym- pho- blastic Lym- phoma — required intense and immediate treatment, including inpatient chemotherapy, blood and platelet transfusions and lumbar punctures. 

Doctors say through treatment the tumor has been satisfactorily addressed.

Unfortunately, Jim can’t quite celebrate full recovery just yet.

He’s about to face another rigorous challenge in the form of a month-long, inpatient bone marrow transplant procedure that is needed to address another potentially dangerous health concern.

During treatment, doctors discovered he also has a rare Philadelphia Chromosome that puts him at high risk of developing leukemia. 

Hence, the need for the bone marrow transplant. 

After 30 years of service at Nuttall Gear without taking a single sick day, Jim has finally been forced to take a few. 

He has, however, been working as he has been able because, well, that’s just the kind of guy that he is. 

In the interest of full disclosure, Jim is also my wife’s ex-husband, which may make all of this sound a bit more strange coming from me. 

While we have had a few disagreements over the years, we do have one thing in common: A love for his daughter and my stepdaughter, Krystal. 

Beyond that, Jim Gravelle is also a human being, the latest in a long and seemingly endless line of unfortunate souls who have been forced to battle one of humanity and society’s most challenging ills. 

He’s been doing his level best to battle the disease and while he’s had his share of down and difficult days, he’s still standing, ready to take on the next treatment challenge. 

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