A Harlem High school teacher says his lucky day was the day he got diagnosed with cancer. Seems like an odd thing to say, right? But it's not to John Easton. Because not only were his chances of surviving really good, his life was about to change for better or worse.
One morning in December 2014, Easton knew something wasn't right. He says he woke up feeling like he'd slept wrong.
"I was just kind of feeling my neck and I said, 'Oh,my, I have a lump in my neck,'" said Easton. "It was probably the size of a cocktail olive."
Easton didn't think anything of it. He didn't 'feel' sick. But his fiancee at the time stayed on him to go to the doctor.
"Finally went and surprisingly, I had a doctor appointment January of 2015 and I was dismissed from the doctor. He thought I was fine. Didn't think anything of it," said Easton.
"It" never went away. A few months later, he was back in the doctor's office. This time, he was told he wasn't 'fine.'
"I started feeling other lumps in my neck that's when they did an ultrasound April 1 and they were everywhere," said Easton.
He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He and his fiancee decided like it or not, their wedding plans had changed.
"We were scheduled to have our wedding December 31. I got diagnosed with cancer May 6. We got married June 6. I started chemo six days later. We wanted to get married before I started the fight," said Easton.
All along, his prognosis was good.
"I consider my diagnosis came with a lottery ticket with a 90-percent cure rate," said Easton. "It meant that the odds were significant that I was going to survive and beat this things."
And he's taking that message to others. Easton is the honorary chair of Saturday's Bow Tie March and 5K in Rockford.
"So I look at this thing, the Bow Tie event, as an opportunity to speak for those who don't have this opportunity," said Easton.
13 News Anchor Sean Muserallo will emcee the Bow Tie March this Saturday in the Home Depot parking lot off Perryville Road. The money raised from the this event supports programs at Healing Pathways Cancer Resource Center in Rockford.
The center offers services at no cost to cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers.
To sign up for the Bow Tie March, click here.