Former Clemson University football player Randy Anderson said he got out of his hospital bed and wandered into the waiting room, tears of despair welling in his eyes as he asked himself what he had done to deserve multiple myeloma.
“I said, ‘What is this? I work out, I don't drink, I try to eat right. Why? What's going on here,'” said Anderson, who was the guest speaker during Saturday night's Relay for Life cancer survivor dinner.
The former two-sport high school All-American who played football under Coach Danny Ford said he felt like he was drowning as he pondered his cancer diagnosis.
And then, his wife, Angelia, threw him what he has come to refer to as a “life jacket.”
“She said, ‘Randy, no matter what we have to go through, it does not scratch the surface of what Jesus went through.'” he said. “I thank God for that life jacket. It gave me another breath of air. It gave me that breath I needed to swim and see the horizon. I said, ‘You know what, Jesus? You did it. You were victorious. And I've got you. It is no longer me that lives, it is you that lives within me.' From that moment on, I decided that we were going to beat this thing.”
Anderson encouraged others to be “life jacket” to those fighting cancer and others in need.
“We as survivors, we as Christians, we as human beings, because we are able, we should throw life jackets to people who are in need,” he said. “You may know some folks who are in need of encouragement, of hope. My prayer is that you will take what you hear tonight and share it with somebody, give them some hope, that they don't have to drown. Here comes that life jacket. Take it for encouragement, to get their head above water and swim - swim meaning to live.”
Anderson said his battle with cancer was a blessing.
“It calibrated me as a man, as a husband, as a friend, as a minister, as a son, as a brother,” he said. “It fine-tuned my life. To see the number of people, the lives that have been changed through what God allowed me to go through.”
Union County Relay for Life chairman Beth Lancaster encouraged survivors to attend the Relay for Life which will be held Friday, May 30 at the Union County Fairgrounds.
“It's all about you and also about the community fighting back against cancer,” she said.