OLD BROOKLYN, OH (WOIO) - While we all have blessings to count as Thanksgiving nears, there are some people who are simply grateful to be alive. One local man beat huge odds against him facing pancreatic cancer and wants to share his survival story to inspire others.
Ken Weidus is from Cleveland's Old Brooklyn area and is always smiling. Some would say it's that positive outlook that has him here today with pancreatic cancer just a distant memory of his yesterday.
His former man cave dedicated to the Cleveland Browns used to be more about escaping after he received a phone call he'll never forget.
"The phone rings and it's my doctor and he goes, 'Ken, your tests show you have pancreatic cancer,'" recalled Weidus.
Almost 12 years ago, the now 67-year-old got the diagnosis he never saw coming, along with the grim warning that's so often a part of pancreatic cancer.
"Make peace with God. Get your affairs in order with your family," said Weidus.
He says he remembers hearing those words, but also remembers deciding he wasn't going to let the worst happen. He decided to act like none of it was happening, almost trying not to acknowledge it. But, he still had to undergo surgery to remove the tumors, as well as six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation. All through it, he tried to keep smiling.
"It's very satisfying. This is something we work very hard to do for everyone. I just wish it would happen more often," said Walsh.
While the doctor is inspired by Weidus' attitude, he also believes more aggressive treatment will improve survival rates and lead to more people like Weidus.
Weidus is now cancer free and needs no more check ups, but he still needs to share a message:
"It's another Thanksgiving I never thought I'd have. I guess there's hope. I mean, as bad as it is, there are people who survive."
With this being his first year of retirement, Weidus looks forward to more traveling, spending time with his family, spreading the good news about survival and, hopefully, a Browns winning season in his lifetime.