Ronnie Ayers: Prostate Cancer
Ronnie Ayers has such a positive outlook on life, not even two bouts with cancer could keep him down. “I’m very upbeat person, a ‘glass is half-full’ kinda guy,” says the native Texan. His unflagging optimism became a valuable weapon when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October 2000, only four years after being treated for a rare malignant tumor in his neck.
When cancer struck, Ronnie was already well acquainted with the ups and downs of life. “I went broke in 1986 when the oil patch went bust and recently ended a 35-year marriage, so I’ve been through a lot in my life,” he says. For him, prostate cancer was just another valley to climb out of.
“I chose MD Anderson because I always believed it’s the top cancer treatment center in the world,” he says. Although his personal physician recommended removing the prostate, MD Anderson offered other treatment alternatives more in tune with his active lifestyle, which includes regular golf games. Instead of surgery, Ronnie’s cancer was treated with brachytherapy—radioactive seeds implanted directly into his prostate.
MD Anderson did more than cure Ronnie’s prostate cancer. His involvement in the radio and television ads for MD Anderson, which he considers a great honor, led to a reunion with an old flame he dated briefly at Texas Tech University in the early 1960s. After hearing Ronnie’s radio commercial and seeing the TV ad, she worked up the courage to give him a call. “We got together for dinner and couldn’t keep our eyes off each other, and soon we were smooching like teenagers,” he says delightedly. “I have MD Anderson to thank for saving my life—and for bringing Karen back into my life.” *