You can sum up Jeremy Finney’s approach to fighting cancer with this visual: At 16 years old, he rode his bike 8 miles each way to and from radiation treatments.
He showed no symptoms of cancer until he woke up one morning with a grapefruit-sized tumor in his neck. As a swimmer, football player and cyclist, getting aggressive treatment for Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was the last activity Jeremy planned to squeeze into his busy schedule. But the next day he had his first of several surgeries and started treatment. The prognosis gave him nine months to live.
Today, 29 years later, the Best Buy corporate employee recounts his experience with the same grit and gratitude that got him through days with doctors, nights with nausea and months with medicine that often made him feel much worse.
“There were many dark nights when it was just me and God. What got me through those nights was knowing that God gave man the ability to create things that can help you. That’s God’s power,” he said.
Jeremy is a manager with Best Buy’s Enterprise Business Resiliency team, which tackles the unexpected and restores things to normal as quickly as possible, no matter what it takes. (For example, helping victims of Hurricane Maria.)
His professional role parallels the one he held as a patient so many years ago.
With the goal of tackling cancer and restoring health, no matter what it took, Jeremy’s life was in the hands of doctors from several hospitals. One of whom was a Chattanooga-area physician in Tennessee who practiced treatments discovered by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in Memphis.
St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, so every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more. That’s one of the many reasons why Best Buy participates in the annual St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign (details below).
That treatment was what Jeremy needed.
Road to hope
It was an aggressive regimen with painful surgeries and countless needles. At one point, Jeremy collapsed in his hospital room after his mom stepped out to grab a meal at the cafeteria. She heard the Code Blue announcement over the PA system — and Jeremy’s room number.
“I was, for all intents and purposes, dead. I could hear everything they were saying, and I was trying to respond, but nothing was coming out,” he said. “My mouth wasn’t moving and I was getting frustrated inside myself. Finally, I was able to open my mouth and tell them who I was and give my address.”
Jeremy came through that close call and many others after it. He’s determined to encourage other patients and their families. Jeremy frequently visits hospitals and shares his story and hope with parents facing cancer in their children. He knows the love between parents and children, and that parents will stop at nothing to save them.
“Mom was there every night in the hospital. Not until you become a parent do you imagine what that would be like,” Jeremy said. “Now that I’m a parent, I know.”
This perspective is a miracle in and of itself. Jeremy wasn’t “supposed” to be able to have children after everything his body endured. But his son, Hayden, is proof that the odds aren’t always obstacles.
“People need to understand how important St. Jude is and how close they are to finding the cures needed to save the lives of so many people, children and adults alike. The staff at St. Jude were trained by angels,” Jeremy said.
He is encouraged that his son will be able to do things in his life and have kids of his own.
“It’s all because of this doctor and St. Jude’s regimens. In a time of such materialism among us all, people need to understand that at St. Jude, the only dream both the children and their parents have is that of life,” Jeremy said. “There is not one thing on this planet that could bring them more happiness.”
Jeremy Finney is just one of many inspiring stories made possible through St. Jude’s work. Through Jan. 27, 2018, customers are invited to donate $1, $5, $10 or any other amount while shopping in any one of our nearly 1,400 U.S. stores, as well as at Magnolia, Pacific Sales and BestBuy.com. To learn more about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, visit www.stjude.org.