The Great American Heroes Among Us

Dear Reader:

I had just gotten back from the Oncology Center yesterday afternoon (to pick up my monthly medicines) and was already climbing out of my soaked raincoat and back into “Pinkie” my most faithful comfy robe…when I heard a beep on my iPhone.

It was Tommy sending me the latest u-tube video update on the beloved host of Jeopardy Alex Trebeck. I said a quick prayer he wasn’t saying good-bye yet…and then turned the video on. I sat there mesmerized as I listened to this unbelievably amazing man calmly and sincerely update his first year “living” with pancreatic cancer… or perhaps “fighting” is the better description. *He is certainly proving himself a formidable opponent to this insidious disease!

Every story has a hero and the Jeopardy story will, of course, always end in the form of a question…What show host displayed his greatest courage and integrity while remaining host of Jeopardy?

Answer: Who is Alex Trebeck?

Trebeck (on the first anniversary video) was honest about his good and bad days…days of doubt, days of pain, days of encouragement, days of strength through the love of others cheerleading him on.

After another chaotic week of news recently…  the spreading of the coronavirus and unsettling responses to it…tornadoes in Tennessee, more cases of public figures misbehaving sexually “badly” with noted trials bringing down figures once considered “untouchables”…Americans are more than ready for heroes who posses dignity, respect for others, calmness, openness and gentle humor.

So to be able to pause a moment and watch a person fighting the most important fight of his life…for his life…still thanking everyone for their support touched me and restored my faith in humanity. 

I will insert the u-tube video at the end…but first I wanted to give you a copy of the transcript in case your computer doesn’t pull videos or mine doesn’t work when you go to pull it.

Here is the transcript of Trebek’s full statement.

“Hi, everyone. If you’ve got a minute, I’d like to bring you up to date on my health situation. The one-year survival rate for stage 4 pancreatic cancer patients is 18%. I’m very happy to report I have just reached that marker.

Now I’d be lying if I said the journey has been an easy one. There were some good days but a lot of not-so-good days. I joked with friends that the cancer won’t kill me, the chemo treatments will. There were moments of great pain, days when certain bodily functions no longer functioned and sudden, massive attacks of great depression that made me wonder if it really was worth fighting on.

But I brushed that aside quickly because that would have been a massive betrayal, a betrayal of my wife and soulmate, Jean, who has given her all to help me survive. It would have been a betrayal of other cancer patients who have looked to me as an inspiration, and a cheerleader of sorts, of the value of living and hope, and it would certainly would have been a betrayal of my faith in God and the millions of prayers that have been said on my behalf.

 You know, my oncologist tried to cheer me up the other day. He said, ‘Alex, even though the two-year survival rate is only 7%,’ he was certain that one year from now, the two of us would be sitting in his office celebrating my second anniversary of survival. And you know something, if I, no, if we — because so many of us are involved in this same situation — if we take it just one day at a time, with a positive attitude, anything is possible. I’ll keep you posted.”


So until tomorrow…Alex has shared that ‘God’s Grace has lead him this far…so let’s see how much farther our journey continues together.’ 

“Today is my favorite day” …Winnie the Pooh

A SHOUT-OUT to Phyllis…my faithful cheerleader who always ‘pumps me up’ when I arrive at the oncology center. I told her yesterday that I finally felt like “Becky” again and especially “Boo”! I was gaining my strength back and my appetite.

She started giving me “fist pumps” and everyone around us was smiling at our excitement.

So Dr. Ashley Jeter, my oncologist, is the oncologist of the year and Phyllis is the cheerleader (“pump me up”) receptionist of the year who puts a smile on everyone’s face! Love you Phyllis!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to The Great American Heroes Among Us

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    I read it yesterday and my favorite part was when he gave credit to all those in his life plus he actually said on TV that his faith and God had sustained him too…powerful message. You live this everyday Becky…you are a light shining for others. I have tried several ways to get in touch with you…so aggravating that we can’t text or call…tried PM on FB and the blog…will drop by and set a date for lunch soon..thanks for sweet card


    • Becky Dingle says:

      It has been crazy my direction late…starting to make more trips to Mt. P now…was there today and will be back Saturday night to babysit and will be over at Mandy’s to help out some next week while John is at a conference. Now if we can get the sun out and stay out…


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