As a native Augustan, I have always been proud to call Augusta my hometown.
I earned a bachelor’s degree from Augusta College. Two of my three children received their degrees from Augusta State University. A brother
of mine graduated from the Medical College of Georgia. He still wears his MCG class ring, with justifiable pride. The MCG ring, to this day, still is readily recognizable nationwide within the medical community. I hope the GRU ring of the future will be as distinctive.
Until September 2013, I was in excellent health and enjoying an active retirement. In October 2013, I was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor identified as glioblastoma. During this time, my family and I evaluated the numerous options of facilities available for me to begin treatment, including the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston; the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta; Duke Cancer Center in Durham, N.C.; and the Georgia Regents University Cancer Center.
AS IT TURNED OUT, the nationally and internationally recommended treatment for the type of tumor I have is available right here in our community at Georgia Regents. Consequently, there was no need to incur additional stress, inconvenience and expense for my family regarding travel and housing. I am able to obtain the identical treatment locally.
I have discovered that my tumor does not care about our university’s signage, the location of an “A” or the name of the institution. It does, however, respond to the quality and type of treatment that it receives.
My vision for the future is that GRU will become a nationally recognized research and teaching university. Most of the essential elements to accomplish this are in place now. I also can envision GRU President Ricardo Azziz being able to build on his positive association with the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health to help secure necessary funding to help recruit and hire nationally known and internationally known physicians, scientists, researchers, clinicians and professors.
WE HAVE A university president who is a visionary and a progressive thinker. We have a supportive governor and a supportive University System Board of Regents. All we need to add now is a supportive community.
I must live for the future. I can wax nostalgic anytime by reviewing my youth, including my years at Monte Sano Elementatry School, the William Robinson School and Langford Junior High School. For now, I can foresee people from all over the United States choosing to come to Augusta for treatment at GRU. If I can help the cancer center prolong or save a life moving forward, my life will have taken on new meaning. If, however, I let myself become a naysayer and a cynic impeding progress, then shame on me!
I cannot change yesterday, but I can favorably or positively have an impact on tomorrow.
(The writer is an Augusta businessman.)