Aspen cancer survivor pays it forward at symposium
ASPEN – When David Miller of Aspen joins a panel of international experts for the first-ever Mantle Cell Lymphoma Symposium Friday, his intent is clear: “I want people to learn how to become an exceptional patient,” said Miller, a nine-year MCL survivor and longtime Aspen resident. “Not just a good patient but an exceptional patient.”
Miller’s talk, titled “Perspectives from an Expert Patient and Long-Term Survivor,” is one of several being presented at the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. The impetus for the symposium, according to its organizers, is to update patients, caregivers, oncologists and other health care providers on the most recent advances in treatment and research. For Miller, the gathering goes deeper than that: “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being an enabled and informed patient,” said Miller, who is married with two school-age daughters. “You are your most important advocate and information is a critical part of being a survivor.”
Toward that end, Miller helped found the Facebook group “Our MCL Family.” And though he is now almost a decade removed from his diagnosis of MCL – a rare B-cell blood cancer, which is one of the most challenging non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas to treat – the disease remains a large part of his life.
“My doctor will tell people, ‘David is cured.’ That’s a compliment, but this disease is not curable,” said Miller. “Attitude is everything. You have to be fully bought in with two feet, with your team, to get results.
“You really have to drive the bus.”
In his case, Miller said “serendipity” also played a major role in his positive outcome.
“There is no one thing that made the difference. It was a combination of many things,” he said. “But the Aspen community’s love and support really had an amazing impact on me and my family.”
In fact, Miller said that speaking at an event like Friday’s MCL Symposium is his way of giving back.
“We will never be able to repay all that we received,” he said. “But maybe something like this, being able to share my story, is a way to pay it forward.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
The artist edition series is part of the preeminent pottery studio’s debut ceramic goods line