After his won battle with kidney cancer, a Lincolnton local designed a purple heart to be worn by survivors of the war on cancer.
â€œI think itâ€™s something you ought to be proud of,â€ said Tony Setzer, co-owner of Gas Station Antiques in Lincolnton. â€œIt is a war.â€
Setzer received an official purple heart in his youth after serving in Vietnam. His bout with cancer was a more recent battle, starting this summer, and, fortunately, ending this fall.
â€œIn an actual war, you do have some control of your situation,â€ he said. â€œWith cancer, itâ€™s kind of hard to control your own fate.â€
Before June of 2004, getting cancer was one of the last things on Setzerâ€™s mind.
â€œThere was no history in my family,â€ he said. â€œI was never worried about cancer, and then â€˜Bam!â€™ I got it.â€
When he received the news he had one thought running through his mind.
â€œThis canâ€™t happen to me,â€ he said.
Luckily, the cancer was caught in stage one, and after two surgeries and partial removal of both kidneys, Setzer has received a clean bill of health.
It was while waiting for his second surgery in September that Setzer came up with the idea of designing a purple heart for survivors.
He was in the hospital on a floor with other urology cancer patients. The fire alarm went off, and they were all evacuated outside to a patio.
At three in the morning, Setzer and his fellow patients got to talking. The discussion ended up lasting hours, and by the end, Setzer had decided to create a medal for survivors.
He designed the purple heart during his recovery period, and now has it available as a medal, lapel, necklace and key chain. When Relay for Life kicks off, Setzer will be selling them on the sidelines. One dollar from every $5.95 medal will be donated to the cause.
â€œThatâ€™s one of the ways to fight cancer, one of the biggest ways,â€ he said.
Cancer remains a presence in his life. He is active in the Cancer Survivor Network, and recently, his own father-in-law was diagnosed with the disease.
â€œHopefully, weâ€™ll get him through it now,â€ he said.
For those who currently have the disease he offers a piece of advice:
â€œNever give up the fight, thatâ€™s 99 percent of it,â€ he said.
The purple heart will be available at Relay for Life as well as at Gas Station Antiques in Lincolnton. For more information, go to www.gasstationantiques.com or call 704-732-4900.by Sarah Grano