KennyJohnsTo call Kenny Johns a survivor would be the understatement of the year. When it comes to thriving through life’s trials, Kenny defines the word “survivor.”

A Vietnam veteran who has lived in Dallas, Texas since 1985, Kenny was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma in November 2015. This was not the first tough medical diagnosis Kenny faced. He also has hepatitis C, cirrhosis of the liver and nine lesions on his liver.

“Learning that I had cancer in addition to these other serious medical conditions felt like a death sentence to me,” he says.

But the 65 year-old veteran was not ready to give up. So far, Kenny has had radiofrequency ablation and transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) as part of his treatment regimen. After two months the tumor, which was originally three centimeters in size, shrank six millimeters to 2.4 centimeters. Kenny will learn the final results in June.

“The experience of battling cancer has been uncertain, trying and makes me constantly wonder what to do next. It has been an emotional roller coaster. One minute I will think to myself, you will not have to do laundry or go to the grocery store soon, because your condition seems fatal. But then I find myself continuing to do these tasks as if I do not have cancer and feeling positive about my chances,” he says.

Learning about Imerman Angels from a friend and getting matched up with his own Mentor Angel in April was a game changer for Kenny in terms of his emotional state. So far Kenny has had an hour long phone conversation with Robert, who goes by Bob. The empathy and one-on-one support Bob is able to offer have helped Kenny remain positive.

“Bob and I have a lot in common outside of the diagnosis. I feel like the connection was done by the hands of God. It has brought me great relief and my spirits are high!” he says.

Bob’s open demeanor, patience and empathy have affected Kenny deeply and given him critical insight on what he can expect as he moves through his cancer journey.

“Bob’s support means everything because he has gone through the experience of having hepatocellular carcinoma, and I can draw from that experience to figure out how to deal with what lies ahead. He has been willing to answer all of my questions, which is enormously comforting,” he says.

Kenny is on a waiting list to receive a lifesaving liver transplant. And the chipper southern gentleman looks forward to the future, while making the most of each day.

“I am going to live one day at a time and savor every moment. My belief in God is strong, so I will devote time each day to thank God and reflect on my actions. I am still out there enjoying life!” he says.

If you are a cancer fighter or caregiver of someone with cancer and are in need of free one-on-one support, we encourage you to REGISTER for your own Mentor Angel. We provide matches for anyone touched by any type of cancer, at any cancer stage, at any age, living anywhere in the world.