Chris Russell views his battle with cancer as one involving his entire family. Chris was diagnosed with testicular cancer on Aug. 10, 2006, shortly after his 40th birthday. While he was the one receiving medical attention, Chris says it was more challenging for his family. His wife, Sharon Do viet, and his sons, Jackson and Nathan Russell, stood beside him during this difficult time.
Chris had surgery to remove the cancer mass, followed by radiation treatment. He was told there was only a three percent chance the cancer would return. However, it did return the following spring. Instead of his life returning to normal, Chris endured months of aggressive chemotherapy. Thanks to Dr. Philip McGee, Susan Nolen, Angie Ezell, and the team at the Clearview Cancer Institute in Huntsville, Chris is cancer-free today.
Remarkably, Chris views his battle as being far more positive than negative. He doesn’t associate his cancer with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or baldness. Instead, he recalls the overwhelming sense of love and support shown from everyone around him – family, neighbors, friends, and colleagues. He also drew inspiration from his mother, Phyllis, who died 14 years ago following a long battle with cancer.
Chris selected a centerpiece of bougainvilleas to represent his family with a theme of balance. The plants are resilient while at the same time representing the beauty in life. Red geraniums represent his mother. Bright petunias make up the rest of his garden and represent the network of support Chris received. He is pleased to share the same planting area as Meg Ingram, a family friend and previous Garden of Hope honoree, who died from cancer in 2008.