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The courage to fight

Cancer took Bill McCorvey’s life but not his family’s love
Cancer is a killer.
The fact that many have managed to beat the disease is a feat to rejoice over because so many more don’t survive. Bill McCorvey, beloved local businessman, was one who didn’t make it. Yet his story is heroic, and his family is proud of the hard fight he waged, a struggle in which they each took part, hoping for remission, praying for a cure.
The McCorvey family’s battle against cancer began eight summers ago.
“I was in total disbelief when I found out my dad had cancer,” said Lana Payne, McCorvey’s youngest daughter. He was just 58 years old. He was healthy. I didn’t think it was possible.”
Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, McCorvey began chemotherapy immediately. The treatment went well and his scans showed progress. He continued to work, claiming he was too young to retire. Upbeat, he and his wife, Darlene made plans to move to Arkansas in January 2002. But that December they learned his cancer had returned.
Payne remembered getting the news: “His doctor recommended a stem cell transplant. He said it was the only hope.”
The McCorveys decided to go forward with their move. Despite living in Arkansas, the couple coordinated Bill’s medical treatment with his doctor at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
In March they returned to Texas for him to receive three weeks of chemo prior to the transplant.
Darlene McCorvey recalled her husband’s recovery.
“We returned to Arkansas and he was unbelievable,” she said. “He went to the office every day. Even though he had a couch he could rest on if he needed to, I really don’t know how he did it.”
In the two years that followed, the pair moved back to Ennis and things for Bill still looked up. But in August 2004 tests showed he was in Pre-Leukemia stage. He needed another stem-cell transplant. His brother was a perfect match and the procedure was scheduled.
“My dad was in the ICU Unit of the transplant floor for 41 days,” Lana Payne remembered. “There were six rooms. During that time there was only one man who left ICU and lived.”
The lone patient released was not her father. Bill McCorvey died November 13, 2004 at the age of 62.
“He was always trying to prepare me for what could happen,” his wife said.
Both women recall his strength and how it strengthened them.
“People tell you that you’ll go through different stages of mourning and that one is anger at that person for leaving you,” explained Darlene. “But I have never had that stage. I cannot ever be angry at someone who fought so hard to live.”
Lana remembered how her father helped calm her in the face of his pending death. McCorvey’s words gave her comfort, and they still do today.
What he told her remains imprinted on her mind. He said: “I’ve been able to see my children grown. I’ve been able to see my grandchildren. I’ve lived a good life. If this cures me, I win. If it doesn’t, I tried and I still win. God will take care of me. I am not afraid.”
Lana said she’ll never forget his courage.
“It broke my heart, he fought so hard,” she said.
Cancer changed the McCorveys’ lives in a brutal way but as mother and daughter and the rest of their family move on without Bill, they acknowledge that good has also come from the devastation of his loss.
Darlene said it helps her to pray for those facing what she endured.
“Every time I hear about someone going through this, all I can do is pray and ask the Lord to be with them during their battle and to give them strength,” she said.
Darlene and Lana also find solace in supporting the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Ennis, and agree on its importance to furthering cancer research on a local level.
“It has brought the people of Ennis together for a cause we all believe in,” Payne said. “And for what we all want –– a cure."

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Posted by on Apr 1 2008. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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