By Kathy Walsh
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A cancer survivor is crediting a football legend and UCHealth for saving his life. He says an ad featuring Peyton Manning helped him find the medical care he needed. Manning may no longer be making plays on the field, but he helped Joe Murphy of Arvada score a future.
As a surprise, on Wednesday, Murphy was presented with both a jersey and an official football signed by the former Broncos quarterback. The items are more than just sports memorabilia to the 58-year-old.
“Peyton Manning, thank you very much. You saved my life,” said Murphy.
It was last October when Murphy saw the NFL legend do a commercial for UCHealth.
In the ad, Manning says, “When you’re ready to be your best, you don’t just play the game, you change it.”
Murphy had been suffering with a sarcoma, an extremely rare cancer. He said he’d just been told his doctor had no treatment.
“I went home. I was pretty devastated,” Murphy told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
He explained he also heard Manning say about UCHealth, “You see opportunities where others see challenges.”
“And that’s when I called UCHealth,” said Murphy.
“So our patient here came in with a massive tumor encompassing his whole right lung,” explained Dr. Victor Villalobos, Medical Oncologist and Director of Sarcoma at the University of Colorado Hospital.
In December, Murphy had a six pound tumor and his right lung removed at UCH.
“This not going to be a curative operation. This is more about buying time,” said Villalobos.
But it’s precious time for Murphy and his girlfriend, Sheila McNeely.
“Man of my dreams and now I get to spend the rest of our lives with him,” said McNeely.
“All I can say is thank you,” added an emotional Murphy.
While Murphy isn’t cured, Villalobos said there are promising options for treatments if needed.