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A Special Kind of Cancer Care

Diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth, John McDonald has had special needs for his entire life - but his family wasn't quite prepared for the special medical care he would need now.

After John complained to his mother, Lillian, about pain in his groin, he was quickly diagnosed with testicular cancer and in surgery at Sacred Heart Hospital a few days later. Following surgery, he went through six weeks of chemotherapy.

His oncologist, Dr. Thomas Sunnenberg, had never treated a cancer patient with Down syndrome in his nearly 30 years of practicing medicine. "It was a unique situation that required establishing  a deep connection with John," says Dr. Sunnenberg. "We wanted to make sure that he understood everything that was happening throughout his treatment. It was important to us."

"They're absolutely the best," says Lillian. "Through the entire process, Dr. Sunnenberg and all of the nurses were so compassionate.  They're just the greatest people."

John says, very simply, "He's cool!"

Two years later, John is cancer free and back to doing the things he loves, including  playing golf and bowling. With only a two percent chance of his cancer returning, Lillian is optimistic about his future. She couldn't be happier to have Sacred Heart Cancer Center on their side.

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