Helping people with cancer is a calling for Brandon Miller

Written by  Facing Cancer Together
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“One year and five days after I started working for the American Cancer Society, I was diagnosed with stage I testicular cancer, and it happened to be my brother’s birthday as well: January 8th, 2007.”

brandon-laura-gavon-at-easterOriginally, Brandon Miller, who is now a five-year testicular cancer survivor, was passionate about cancer because he never got to meet his paternal grandmother.
He says, “Everybody tells me I’m most like her, and she passed away from complications with her leukemia shortly after I was born, so I always felt cheated growing up, not getting to meet the person everybody says I was the most like.”

“Cancer, I tell people, can affect you from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. It doesn’t care who you are, how old you are, where you live, or why you’re doing what you’re doing, or how you’re doing what you’re doing. That’s just why we need to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.”

His team that he was working with at the American Cancer Society- East Central Division, at the time was very supportive of him and pitched in to help with anything that he needed. “Professionally or even personally, they were there for me,” Brandon recalls.

Brandon’s found his experience with cancer has helped him relate to other survivors he meets through his work, saying, “They’re saying whatever type of cancer experience they’re going through, and I say, ‘Well, I’m a cancer survivor, too. I was diagnosed five years ago.’ And you immediately see a wall drop, and then we’re able to connect at a different level.”

Brandon’s attitude and work to promote cancer awareness has inspired his wife, too. Laura and Brandon were newlyweds when they got the news Brandon had cancer.

brandon-laura-gavon-birthday“Oh, I’m very proud of him, of course I am,” Laura says about Brandon. “I always say that he was so strong, you know, and even though I always say that I’m the one that needed to be strong for him, I think that he was the one that was strong for the family. He really is centered, very God-focused, and he was able to bring us back whenever I would start going down the ‘What if?’ page.”

Brandon feels that being diagnosed so young, at a very formative time, has shaped his life. He says, “I feel like this is the call that has been placed in my life, that no matter what I do, I will always have some connection to American Cancer Society and or cancer.”

He feels empowered by what he is doing with his own experiences to help others and feels that caner has given purpose to his life. Although facing cancer wasn’t easy for he and Laura, he says, “I can channel that energy into and turn it into a positive thing for our community and for the world, too. I guess, like the old saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”

Click here to check out Brandon's patch at the Facing Cancer Together Digital Quilt!

Visit the American Cancer Society website at or call them at 1-800-227-2345

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