Jerry Bayton's Fight for Life

Today, I am a 7-year cancer survivor. Help me celebrate my "2nd-chance life" by helping someone else! Jerry Bayton is a pervasively positive man with a big smile, brought on by his pride in his work as a Kansas City, Missouri Fire Captain, his hobbies coaching his children's sports or playing music (he's the drummer), but mostly by his love for his wife and family. Out of the blue, 18 months ago, Jerry was thunderstruck by a cancer diagnosis: Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer.

Jerry is now in the fight of his life 1200 miles away from his hometown under the care of specialists in New York City, having recently received a stem cell transplant from his brother. This is man who literally risked his life rushing into burning buildings for the people in his community when he could work. He has not be able to work since he got sick and the financial complications that come with having serious illness in a family are all too real for the Baytons. This is a man who wants nothing more than to be well enough to come home but he's required to get his treatment all those miles away and be shut away from most people until he can get well. (His wife and two school-aged sons remain in Kansas City and his mother just relocated to New York to assist him as he recovers.)

So, why is this personal to me (besides the fact that I know Jerry personally)? Today marks 7 years since I received my own phone call no one wants to take, a doctor reporting my cancer diagnosis. Now 7 years later (years I was not sure I would see), I feel I live a 2nd-chance life and I try to live it purposefully. One of my favorite quotes is from Howard Thurman, civil rights activist, who said, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Many people have supported me in my various fundraising campaigns since I decided cancer wouldn't win. For that, I am appreciative; I believe our dollars have advanced the cause to find a cure for cancer.

But this time, it's personal. On this bad luck anniversary of my diagnosis, I ask you to support this man's cause. The financial drain on Jerry's family is incomprehensible to me. Please help me as we defray the costs of Jerry Bayton's fight. Doing so is one way to do something real, direct, and tangible for someone in the fight of his life.

30 years ago, I met Jerry Bayton in a college acting class. I felt pretty special to know this charming fellow with the big smile and positive view on all things. I still do. I think you'll feel pretty special to help in this way, too. Whether it is a first, second, or third-chance life you are living, each of us needs to be reminded to come alive.

Please share this page with others.

You can learn more about Jerry and his battle at this site

You can buy music from Jerry's band, Symetrix to support his cause at

Read a news story about his brother's stem cell donation at

Learn more about Multiple Myeloma at


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Lora Brewer Ackerman 
Kansas City, MO
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