For 43 years Larry Wilson worked in Marketing, Product Planning, and Strategic Planning for Caterpillar. He has an M.B.A. and various engineering degrees. Many of the stereotypical personality traits attributed to “engineers” have likely served him well through the years; and especially when he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in February 2016. But on January 18, 2017 Larry Wilson was the first person at UnityPoint Health –Methodist to ring Radiation Oncology’s new Victory Bell.
When you meet Larry you immediately get a sense of his quiet determination and unflappable faith. Just like most good engineers, Larry likes order. He is educated, pragmatic, detailed, observant, and the kind of guy that wants to get the job done – right. Yet, unlike many of his colleagues, he always has a big smile and friendly and engaging demeanor at the ready.
Larry and wife Sharon have been married for 57 years. “And we’re working on 58,” the couple says in unison. The couple has three children and six grandchildren. They’ve lived in Europe, Asia, and five different states in the United States and throughout the years and all their travels Larry says “I’ve never experienced anything like this group of people at Methodist.”
After his diagnosis, Larry was sent to a specialist and had a PET scan and “everyone was just amazing,” said Larry. “In time I’ve gone through 24 radiation treatments and six chemotherapy treatments and the reception from the group in this department was, right from the start, very, very, positive. They gave me hope.”
“We’ve had a lot of people praying for us,” said Sharon. “The staff here all knows Larry and they know his personality and they’ve fed right into that. His nickname is the Jokester. He always has a joke ready.
We always look forward to seeing everyone here; the attitudes and atmosphere and caring is warm and friendly and positive. You need that.”
“Even the Valet’s and Reception Desk are all terrific,” the couple agreed. “We took a moment to buy them all popcorn one day,” said Sharon. “Just really terrific people.”
Once Larry’s treatments were completed for esophageal cancer he also underwent an additional 14 treatments for cancer along parts of his spine. “Everyone here has had such a positive impact on me during this time,” said Larry. With Larry’s spiritual faith, engineer’s determination, a little hope and, a few laughs for good measure, he’s well on his way; and he knows why. “I guess God still has some work he wants me to do,” said Larry. Larry Wilson set a real nice tone for that Victory Bell and a path for others to follow. “I’ll miss these people,” said Larry. “I love them all.”