Paul's story: Dedicating his life to helping others

Paul's story

Paul's story: Dedicating his life to helping others


"I try not to focus on my problems. I try to focus on other people's problems." That's how Paul describes his approach to dealing with cancer. In fact, helping others is how Paul approaches his whole life, not just his cancer. It's what you might expect from someone who has spent years caring for others as an emergency room (ER) technician, a girls' basketball coach and a homeless shelter volunteer.

I'm going to fight with all the strength that I have, because that's all I can do and that's the type of person I am.

In December 2014, after experiencing persistent coughing and shortness of breath, Paul underwent a CT scan that revealed a large mass on his lung. The diagnosis was stage IV lung cancer. As an athletic person who never smoked, Paul was in shock.

The day his doctor delivered the news, Paul found himself alone in the exam room while his wife stepped out to make a phone call. Fear and doubt crept in, and Paul wondered what his future would hold.

Paul's story 1
Paul with his daughter and son.
Paul's story 2
Paul outside his home in Carson, CA.
Paul's story 3

Paul with his wife Natalie and their children, Erinn and Jeremiah.

But he didn't stay in that mindset for long. He soon transformed his fears into actionable, positive affirmations about how he would continue serving others. He also felt grateful for his care team, which included some of the doctors and nurses he'd worked with as a technician in the ER.

Coaching, my care team, my family and my kids keep me going. I wouldn't have made it this far without them.

Paul credits his strong faith in God and his dedication to serving others for his peaceful resolve in the face of cancer. He is also deeply grateful for his family. Every Friday morning, his wife and two young children welcome him home after his chemotherapy treatment. And by Friday evening, he is out coaching his basketball team. Though he has had to make adjustments to his daily routines, his relationships with others give him focus and strength.

Paul stays positive by embracing what he can do, instead of focusing on what cancer has taken away. He continues to do what he loves most: caring for others. With that in mind, he always has a reason to get up in the morning to fight another day.

I'm still going to do all of the things that I want to do, even with cancer.