In August 2014, doctors told SM East graduate Tim Grimes he had stage 4 melanoma. The first doctor he saw said he had about a 5 percent chance to survive another 18 months. The next doctor said he may only survive nine.
The nine-month mark came and went. Grimes continued to get aggressive treatment for the tumors that had spread throughout his body, and while things weren’t getting worse, they weren’t getting much better, either.
Then the 18-month mark arrived in February.
“With the nine-month timeline, I never really thought about that, because I knew I would make it to nine months,” he said. “Eighteen months was always my goal.”
As he neared the end of the time doctors had suggested he would survive, his medical team was experimenting with a variety of new treatments. Grimes had started taking a heavy dose of steroids in combination with radiation therapy every couple of weeks. The steroids were wreaking havoc on his system, making him anxious, agitated and ravenously hungry. He went into the cancer center for a check up to have the doctors suggest a different steroid dosage and also got a body scan to check on his tumors.
The results were nothing short of amazing: His tumors had shrunk by half. What’s more, one of the three tumors in his brain had virtually disappeared.
“I had been so focused on the side effects of the steroids that it was kind of like, ‘What? The tumors are shrinking?’” he said. “It was just really exciting.”
Grimes responded to the good news by filming a short video — with backup dancing help from some of the nursing staff at the University of Kansas Cancer Center — which he posted on YouTube and Facebook. Take a look:
Grimes said he’ll be eternally grateful to the Kansas City community for all the support they’ve given him during his ordeal. His friends recently relaunched a GoFundMe site to help raise money to cover the extensive medical bills he’s incurred during more than a year of intensive treatment.