Bill Brand 2.0, Making A Lasting Impact With A Second Chance

Courtesy of Mayor Bill Brand of Redondo Beach, California.

Bill Brand of grew up close to the Southern California coast. The visionary of competitive ocean swims in Redondo Beach, he has long surfed, swam, and paddled as a kid, teenager, young adult and aging Baby Boomer year-round.

He made his mark as an environmental activist who was recently elected to become the mayor of the City of Redondo Beach. Things were going well, but then his life was jolted to its very core.

He explained, “Eight months ago, like a bolt of lightning, I was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. It had already spread to my brain, back, ribs and lymph nodes by the time I found out. My first symptom was a seizure during a flight to Mexico.

I’m so very happy to report that the combination of chemotherapy, radiation, healthy eating, exercise and lots of love, care and prayers from family and friends that the brain masses are virtually gone, my lymph nodes are cancer free, my back is healing and the lung mass is about 10% of its original size.

The cancer has disappeared except for a small mass left in my left lung and a small spot on one vertebrae. The main brain tumor has shrunk from 13mm to 4.7mm. The other brain tumor is completely gone.

I have to take this opportunity to thank my doctors, nurses, x-ray techs, researchers, administrators, office workers, janitors and all the hard working individuals who brought state-of-the-art healthcare to me so that I could recover and get back to a fulfilling life.

It has been quite a journey – very painful at times, but rewarding in many, unexpected ways. I often entertain the crazy thought that I would write a book one day titled, “The Blessings of Cancer.”

I have to thank my wife, Deirdre, who was more grief-stricken than myself when my illness was discovered, but held it together through thick and thin while quietly dealing with the prospect of losing her new husband.

In a way, it’s easier being the victim [who] everyone is doting over [rather] than to be the one who is going to be left behind to pick up the pieces. In the early going, I would sometimes awake in the middle of the night to find her quietly crying. It brought us even closer than we already were, and made us realize what matters most: love of family, friends, and appreciating everyday we have to make life worthwhile, and leave this place better than we found it.”

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