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Jerry's Story

Jerry and his Wife, Tricia, on a Glacier

Jerry and his wife, Tricia, live in New Jersey. He is a computer programmer and she an eighth grade teacher. They share a fascination for Victorian architecture.

I was 28 years old when I first arrived at Memorial Sloan Kettering on October 12, 1982. My wife, Tricia, was four months pregnant with our son when I was diagnosed. The good news was that I could count on being alive for his birth. The not-so-good news was that there was only a 50-50 chance that I would live until his first birthday. The doctors at MSKCC timed my chemo around Tricia’s due date, and five months later I was able to be with her for the birth of our son, Evan.

Evan was a strong, healthy baby. As happy as I was to hold him, I couldn’t ignore the possibility that we might never get a chance to know each other. Who was going to teach him how to throw a ball or how to put on a tie for his prom? I hoped it would be me, but there was a very real possibility that it wouldn’t turnout that way. A couple of pictures, maybe, and his mother’s memories … that might be the only knowledge Evan would ever have of me.

Jerry's Son and New Daughter-in-law on Their Wedding Day

What little comfort I could take from my situation was that I was being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. I never worried that I might not be getting the best care available. Memorial Sloan Kettering then, as now, was a world-class hospital, and it was there that I had the best chance of surviving this disease. I had peace of mind knowing that if I could be saved at all, then it was Memorial Sloan Kettering that would save me.

Thanks to the excellent treatment I received, the 50-50 toss of the coin landed in my favor. Back in 1983, I was afraid of being no more than a picture to my son, but instead in 2009 I took this picture of my son. And it’s a very special picture, indeed. So is a picture worth a thousand words? Ordinary pictures maybe, but this picture is far, far more precious. This picture is worth 26 years!