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February 5, 2024

Why I Do This - Kevin Chinn

In 1993, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Colorectal Cancer.  I had no clue of the journey that I was embarking on.  

In the summer of 1993, I felt good.  I was 31 years old, married to the love of my life, two kids that were eight and three years old, and healthy as a horse.  I was a high school and college basketball player where I was getting back into my workout regime of the sport after a few years away from the court. I found myself getting exhausted from running up and down the court two or three times.  I kept pushing and pushing to get in shape and then I started to get headaches that came on stronger and stronger. Then I started experiencing dizziness and started to wonder what was going on.

I met with a doctor, and it was determined that my hematocrit count volume was very low, dropping as low as 13%. The average of a good HCT volume is around 36%-54%.  I was bleeding internally, but it could not be seen by the naked eye.

Being admitted to the hospital on September 7th, 1993, I felt scared of the unknown, scared for my family, and lonely sleeping in a hospital room was not a comfortable feeling for me.  I just thought it would go away.  I wanted to leave the hospital.  I thought I might grab my clothes and walk home.  I shared this with my friend and he grabbed my clothes and turned to me and said, “just so you don’t get any ideas.”

After a colonoscopy, endoscopy, and numerous blood tests, it was finally confirmed that I had Stage 2 Colorectal Cancer.  Told of the news, I felt numb, fear, and confused of what was ahead.  I was wondering if I would live to see my wife and kids.  The surgery required my abdomen wall being open about 12-14 inches to ensure no other organs were infected.  I received 6 units of blood during surgery.  I had 27 lymph nodes in the area and none were infected.  After weeks of recovery, I was able to go home and prepare for chemotherapy treatment.  Every doctor from my primary care doctor, surgeon and oncologist were saying “you are way too young, you should not have cancer.”  My response was “you want it?”  as I jokingly offered it up to them.

Things started to change with my attitude towards cancer since I was never a quitter in my life.  After a year of treatment, the doctor told me the chemotherapy had done a number on my system and I would not be able to have any more children. Our third child was born in 1996.  Now in 2024, I am still married to the same love that helped me through this journey – changing my bandages, feeding me cream of wheat at the crack of dawn, all while trying to get the kids ready for school. My kids are now 38, 34, and 27 years old with the youngest being coined our “miracle baby.”

I regularly speak to patients going through the process of cancer at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center and that brings me much comfort.  When given the privilege to help someone diagnosed with cancer it is a blessing to me.  The five focus areas that helped me through the fight were:

  1. Strengthen my faith
  2. Have great family and friend support function in place
  3. A good medical team that works for you
  4. Let people help
  5. The will to never quit

When thinking of the question “Why I Do This?” a couple of things come to mind. My goal in life is to make a difference in at least one life and just do right. Working at 4G Clinical gives purpose to that goal. “Bringing crucial medicines to those who need them, faster.”  I never had the benefit of a clinical trial thirty years ago or after being diagnosed with Sarcoidosis almost fifteen years ago.  So much has changed since both of my diagnoses and treatment.  At 4G Clinical, I see, hear, and contribute in my own small way, to the betterment of patients’ lives across the globe through our clinical software development.

I’ll leave you with a quote I live by everyday: ”Don’t give up.  Don’t ever give up.” A quote from Jim Valvano, famed college basketball coach, who died April 1993 after a year-long battle of Metastatic Adenocarcinoma.


Kevin Chinn

Office Manager, 4G Clinical

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