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Lifelong Footballer Refuses To Let Mesothelioma Score


David Theobold is a 50 year-old machinist supervisor who works in Anaheim, California. An affable Englishman with an infectious smile and engaging manner of speech, David grew up in Sheffield and moved to California as a young man. He immediately took to the lifestyle in southern California, preferring it to the rain and clouds of his native England. Starting at the entry level in his machine shop, David worked his way up to supervisor through persistence, hard work, ability, and brains. Before long he became a citizen, never forgetting his English roots or his passion for soccer.

From childhood until a few years ago David could always be found on the soccer field, where his speed and durability made him valuable at any position. After a leg injury severely curtailed his playing time, he put more emphasis into coaching, and has become a source of expertise and authority for local players. Keeping in touch with the close-knit community of British residents in the Anaheim area, David has always been one of the first to organize events, donations, support, and outreach to his countrymen and their families in times of trouble.

Married to his lovely wife for 15 years, David and Tracey have an active soccer-playing 11 year-old, who is the apple of their eye. Always healthy, and a lifelong nonsmoker, David lived his life as a pillar of the community. He was so healthy, in fact, that he had no regular doctor.

Chest pain leads to doctor's office

One day, in late May 2007, David was stricken with extreme chest pain. The intensity was so great that he feared the growing pressure in his chest was a heart attack, even though his healthy lifestyle would hardly make him a candidate for heart disease. He went to St. Jude Hospital to have the condition examined, but the tests came back negative for a heart condition. He returned to the hospital later for a CT scan, which detected pleural nodules. He was next sent to a specialist, and underwent a PET scan and biopsy. St. Jude's initial diagnosis was sarcomatoid mesothelioma.

This multisyllabic diagnosis meant nothing to David and Tracey until their doctor began to explain the genesis and progression of asbestos cancer. Their world was shaken to its foundations as they began to understand, for the first time, the potential implications of this awful disease.

Before Christmas, his doctors at St. Jude referred David to City of Hope in Duarte, California because of its advanced cancer diagnostic and treatment facilities. Thoracic surgeon Dr. Kemp Kernstine confirmed that David was positive for sarcomatoid mesothelioma. Later evaluations confirmed that cancer had not spread and that he was lymph node negative. After traveling to Las Vegas to consult with oncologist Dr. Nick Vogelzang, David decided to move ahead with a chemotherapeutic regimen to treat the cancer. Since the cell type of his mesothelioma was sarcomatoid, Dr. Robert Cameron at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine felt that he would not be a candidate for the lung-sparing pleurectomy / decortication surgery.

Hitting back hard

David's first chemotherapy treatment was done on March 6. Unlike many people who undergo strong chemotherapy cocktails, David's iron constitution and indomitable spirit handled the powerful drug amazingly well. A bit of upset stomach and he was right back to work! David's treatments will continue and he will then be evaluated to see if the treatments have had an effect on the tumor.

David has a wonderfully optimistic attitude and is very focused on being proactive about his treatment. He is adamant that he going to "find a way to beat it!" He plans to see his son graduate from high school, and to never let the cancer slow him down.

*** POSTED MARCH 7, 2008 ***

An Update -- June 19, 2009

Today David says he is doing well and taking each day as it comes. He is currently not in any type of treatment, but keeps a close eye on his health and relays that information to his doctor regularly.

David is preparring for the upcoming Livestrong Challenge bike ride in July. His training has led him to meet and speak with many people about Mesothelioma. This race is put on by the Lance Armstrong Cancer Foundation. David said, "I am excited to give something back and help others who suffer from Cancer, of any kind" His team is called Team Cure Meso and so far his team has raised over $3000.00. They have 5 team members.

They are hoping to raise $5000.00 before the day of the ride. ( David is one of the younger victims of Mesothelioma and works hard at getting the word out about Asbestos. He is glad they discovered this disease early and is strong in his will to fight it.