COOPERSTOWN, N.Y-- Cooperstown restaurant manager Art Boden calls living in remission his afterlife.
"You don't have to move onto heaven to be in an afterlife," Boden said. "To me, cancer scares us enough that it's almost like alphabetical order. 'C' leads to 'D' and I'm not thinking about the next letter in the alphabet."
Cancer also changed the way Boden viewed the Relay for Life of Otsego County.
"We've been very fortunate to be in a position to make monetary donations every year," Boden said. "This community really seemed to come together in Otsego County for this specific cause."
After years of donating along with his family, Boden discovered his stomach pains and increasing fatigue were signs of something much worse.
"I got the results ten days later and I was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma," Boden said. "My energy and focus was going to work on myself, instead of providing a service for my family and our family businesses."
Shortly after Boden was diagnosed in 2016, he had a rocky beginning to his chemotherapy treatments.
"The doctor had said he didn't know if I was going to make it at that time," Boden said.
Boden sought strength in the struggles of others. He recalled watching his late wife suffer from lupus years earlier, and had a face-to-face discussion with the executive director of Cooperstown's Chamber of Commerce.
Matthew Hazzard also fought lymphoma.
"He gave me an education that I held onto through that entire battle," Boden said.
Now, he wants to pay it forward by inspiring others facing a cancer diagnosis.
"If you're alive, regardless if you're in remission or not, you are a survivor," Boden said. "I'm going to live and until they tell me I'm not going to live, why should I think any different?"
The Relay for Life of Otsego County will take place May 19, 2018 at Wilber Park at noon.
- Cooperstown man shares cancer story ahead of Relay for Life
- Relay for life brings cancer survivors together
- American Cancer Society kicked off Relay for Life
- Mug Club: Relay Night
- Utica College hosts 4th annual Relay for Life
- 7th annual Relay for Life Kids Walk held in Utica
- Hopes at the Slopes: a fundraiser for Relay for Life
- Herkimer Co. Relay For Life kicks off 21st season
- Cooperstown firefighters welcomed home
- Celebrating the life of a former Cooperstown Elementary School secretary