By Alan Gionet
EVERGREEN, Colo. (CBS4) – I’d like you to know Larry Graziani. Larry is a good guy. Cancer is his opponent. I hope cancer knows what it’s messing with.
I know Larry from Evergreen where we both live. He’s a social guy, a decent guy to his core and he is handling cancer with a toughness he has always had. Larry went to Notre Dame on a full football scholarship back in the day. He played linebacker for the Fighting Irish. As tough as Larry is, he has a soft heart and a huge list of friends.
So I picked Larry to headline what we’re up to over the next month. You may have noticed I’ve been growing a beard. I’m trying to get a decent head start on No Shave November. I like to tell people my beard is like baseball, nine on a side. But it’s slowly coming along. Raising awareness and money to help fight cancer is important to me. Cancer killed my brother, my mother and my father.
Larry was first diagnosed July 7, 2015, after he was having headaches. He was mumbling sometimes and he started having some seizures that took him into another time and place. It was always a trip into the past. He would get a funny taste in his mouth. When he had enough of it, he went to get checked out.
“I never thought I’d get cancer.” Doctors kept him in the hospital after imaging showed a “very large” brain tumor. They told him they needed to operate right away. It was glioblastoma. Doctors said without an operation he could be dead in three days. The operation revealed it was Stage IV glioblastoma.
“I’m going to fight,” said Larry. “It’s like a football game, it’s like a battle, it’s just like a war.”
Radiation followed surgery. He started chemo, but stopped because it was so rough.
“It killed my spirit to live.”
So Larry looked for some alternatives. He modified his diet, eliminated carbs and sugars. He began hyperbaric oxygen treatments to flood his body with oxygen under pressure. After two and a half years he has beaten the odds that say people with the diagnosis don’t live nearly as long.
He takes calls from people with cancer on what he’s done to reach almost three years.
“That’s my calling, that’s why I got it, I know I can beat it.” Another tumor that showed up recently is the latest opponent. Larry is doing radiation again and going after it.
Over the two plus years he’s dealt with health insurance headaches as some of the innovative treatments he tries are not covered. He lost his job after his diagnosis.
“Most people won’t hire you if you have cancer. I’m functional, I stay active, I go for hikes with my dog,” Larry said. “That’s the thing with cancer, you have to stay active. It’s not the cancer that makes you feel like crap it’s a lot of the treatment.”
So you’ll find Larry at the gym. He’s always helping kids and anyone with a question about working out. People use words like, “inspiration.” To Larry, it’s life. Precious life. He won’t let cancer define him. There’s a lot more to Larry.
So we gave him a shout out this morning. We support Larry in his fight. I hope you will too.
Here is a link to our No Shave November site: no-shave.org/member/agionet
And Larry’s been hit hard losing his job and fighting cancer. He has a GoFundMe page as he tries to make ends meet. You can help him directly at gofundme.com/glioblastomacure.