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Rob Atteberry (submitted by his wife, Keri)
Location: Clarkston, Mich.
In three words: Inspiring, survivor, motivational
My husband’s name is Rob Atteberry. His mantra is “Go! Go! Go!” This is the phrase he whispered to himself for months while learning to walk again at his physical therapy sessions. You see, Rob’s 40th birthday present was a cancer diagnosis. He had felt sick for almost a year and finally learned he had Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma in his sinus. He spent the next two years fighting and beating cancer not once, but twice. Our four young boys and myself, as well as our parents and sisters, were counting on him to be strong and fight. He was and he did.
After achieving remission from the sinus cancer, we soon learned that the lymphoma recurred in his brain. He lost his ability to walk, talk and laugh. He couldn’t feed himself, dress himself or even stand up straight. He endured chemotherapy and radiation for the second time, but this time was different. Cancer is a scary disease turned even scarier when it’s in your brain. He doesn’t remember an entire year of his life. He lost his job, gained 40 pounds and spent all his time and energy fighting for his life. He is a survivor in the utmost extent of the word. He was declared in remission two years ago, after the doctors said it was impossible.
At one point he was told he had a year to live. Instead of wallowing in self pity or becoming hopeless he did the opposite. He started training and pushed his body to became a triathlete. A week after he was supposed to be “dead,” he completed his first half Ironman. Since then, he completed another half Ironman and countless triathlons, marathons and races. He has inspired friends and family to become athletes as well. He started a running club and a swim team in our neighborhood. He inspired 60 people (including me) to don “Team Atts” t-shirts and participate in a sprint triathlon last year.
He speaks to cancer patients and survivors, motivating them to “Go! Go! Go!” and fight to beat cancer through exercise and positive thinking. His enthusiasm for life and exercise is infectious. Every day is the best day of his life and he exudes that positivity to everyone he sees.