The Power of Support During Cancer
- Country Singer Toby Keith, 62, is celebrating his foundation that supports pediatric cancer and their families reaching its tenth anniversary. Keith’s cancer advocacy began years before he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2021.
- Keith’s cancer journey is expected to come to a promising end soon as the singer says he’s doing “pretty good.” His treatment included chemotherapy. While we do not know the exact type of chemo he received, chemotherapy does often come with side effects, such as nausea, hair loss, or weight changes.
- The singer also has received immunotherapy, which is a form of cancer treatment that uses the body’s immune system to fight the cancer. While the exact immunotherapy treatment remains private, Keith said his tumor has shrunk since starting cancer treatment.
The Toby Keith Foundation has helped children diagnosed with cancer by providing them with no-cost housing while undergoing treatment. Earlier this year, $1.8 million was raised for the foundation supporting the “OK Kids Korral.”Read More
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Supportive fans praised the “Beer for My Horses” singer’s philanthropic efforts on Instagram.
“One of the best photos of Toby Keith when opening his ‘The Toby Keith Foundation’ for ‘OK Kid’s Korral.’ You can count on my Christmas donation, as always. Ten-year anniversary and proud to be part of it,” Instagram user Sheila V. Jennie wrote.
“God Bless you, TK. You have a huge, caring heart and soul, cowboy. Sending up some healing love and prayers today and every day,” Instagram user Rita Belmore said.
Keith’s passion for supporting pediatric cancer was inspired by a close friend whose daughter was diagnosed with a tumor at age two.
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“I had been donating all of my efforts and money to St. Jude’s, which is an incredible organization. I called in a favor, and they took her but weren’t able to save her. Her mother said later she didn’t have anything with her when they arrived. St. Jude’s told her, ‘Here’s your room, here’s some Walmart cards, here’s some food 24/7.’ They didn’t charge her a penny,” Keith previously told Golf Digest.
Keith wanted to bring that kind of cancer support to his hometown of Oklahoma City.
“We feed them, shuttle them, whatever it takes,” the “Red Solo Cup” singer said.
Remarkably, these cancer support efforts began several years before he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2021.
Helping Patients Find Support During their Journeys
Coping with Pediatric Cancer
Keith’s cancer support is extremely helpful, especially for families already struggling with a diagnosis and the unforeseen costs associated with cancer treatment. Family members caring for a child diagnosed with cancer can be stressful. Family support not only eases the anxiety of the cancer patient, but the added support also helps their loved ones.
As parents navigate the cancer journey with their young cancer warriors, it’s important to remember children’s bodies may react differently to treatments than adults because their bodies are still growing.
“They may receive more intense treatments…and they may respond differently to drugs that control symptoms in adults,” according to the National Cancer Institute, so it’s important to ask plenty of questions to doctors throughout the cancer journey.
Keith’s Cancer Journey Fuels His Advocacy
Keith has been battling stomach cancer since 2021. He’s since undergone treatment, which includes chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and immunotherapy. This summer, he revealed he’s feeling pretty good and nearing the end of cancer treatments.
After his diagnosis, he stepped away from the big stage to focus on his health. After nearly two years of battling the disease, the “Red Solo Cup” singer recently revealed he’s “feeling pretty good” in an interview with Country Now.
“Basically, everything is in a real positive trend. You never know with cancer, so you have to prepare,” the country singer continued.
Based on Keith’s comments and pop-up performances throughout the summer, the “Beer for My Horses” singer appears to be managing his treatments well. Side effects from chemotherapy and immunotherapy may include fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite — but they can be managed.
“…The severity depends upon how we manage it. Some patients will get diarrhea, and we can give them treatments to calm down their diarrhea, and it lasts a couple of days,” Dr. Pavlick continued.
Understanding Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer (also called gastric cancer) starts in the cells lining the stomach, according to the National Cancer Institute. Symptoms may include bloating, indigestion, and loss of appetite. More severe symptoms may include bloody stools and jaundice.
Treatment options for stomach cancer may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. Your care team will decide the best treatment option depending on your overall health and the maturity of the cancer.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
If you or a loved one are faced with cancer and wondering how treatment may affect your life, here are some questions you may consider asking your doctor to help get the conversation started:
- What are the potential side effects of my treatment?
- How will treatment affect my ability to continue my usual activities?
- Are there ways to manage side effects of the treatment?
- When would I be able to get back to normal activities?
- I want to find other ways to occupy my time while going through treatment. Can resources help me find activities that make sense for me?