(August 2021) - Terry Easterly is in his eighth year of treatment for esophageal cancer at Clearview Cancer Institute but it's not just during his treatment when you'll find Terry in the infusion area. Terry also serves as a volunteer at CCI's Decatur clinic.
"At one point I was doing weekly treatments so I was here once a week for that and volunteering once a week so, I was down here a lot. You get to know people and it is very much like a family," Easterly said.
Terry said it didn’t take long for him to realize how important volunteers were in his experience as a patient and that one day he also wanted to contribute.
“It was a big difference when there was a volunteer there and when there wasn’t. I thought to myself, ‘You know what, I need to do this when I am able to’ and so when I was able to, I did,” he said.
When we met with Terry in August, he said his life has changed in many ways since his diagnosis.
“If I had to, if somebody could magically say ‘let’s go back and you just not have cancer and you progress from that point,’ that would be a tough decision to make because I don’t know that I could give up all the friends that I have made because I have made some real friends that I would never have met if it was not for cancer,” he said.
Terry’s journey even led him to discover a passion for a new hobby – making pottery.
“I owned a business and when I thought that I was not going to survive, I decided I needed to sell it and just start preparing. The fella who I sold it to, him and his daughter started a pottery shop, and I would go down there and help them with painting and different things,” Easterly said. “Again, if I had not had cancer, I never would have sold the business, never met his daughter and never have got involved with the pottery.”
He focuses on the kintsugi style of pottery, a style he can also relate to his experience as a cancer survivor.
“It is where stuff that is scarred and broken is repaired with gold. It's symbolic of something that is broken and is put back together and is actually more beautiful and more valuable than before,” Easterly said. “That is very much how I see myself. I believe I am a lot more valuable now than I was before.”
To learn more about volunteering at Clearview Cancer Institute, visit our website HERE.
To watch our interview with Terry, click HERE.