For more than 45 years, Tommy Graham has faithfully used his talents of singing and playing the trumpet to minister to people throughout the world. And for the next few moments, you will hear his incredible journey of living to give.
In November of 2010, doctors discovered that Tommy Graham had a cancerous tumor on his right kidney. The kidney was removed, and he was cancer free. Until July 17, 2012, that is, when doctors diagnosed Tommy with Stage IV Renal Carcinoma, or kidney cancer.
Since being diagnosed, Tommy has undergone a six-week chemotherapy regiment under the care of his oncologist, Dr. Rajesh Bajaj of McLeod Oncology & Hematology Associates. The side effects of this treatment can be grueling, but Tommy received his first good report this past April, and by June, Tommy's bone scan indicated a sign of partial remission, meaning the cancer is half its original size.
"Through my journey with cancer, I have seen firsthand the marvelous work of the McLeod Cancer program," recalls Tommy. "I wait in anticipation the opening of the Cancer Center, and I am so grateful to the generous McLeod Foundation donors who have made this dream a reality."
Instead of succumbing to a devastating diagnosis, Tommy became even more determined to continue his music ministry, which began in 2002. Tommy's mobility was severely affected for the first four to six months following his cancer diagnosis in 2012, but he used music as his exercise since singing and playing the trumpet require a lot of energy.
"I discovered years ago that when a person ministers through music while enduring hardships, people are inspired," explains Tommy. "I want to take every opportunity to be that inspiration to the people around me."
After learning about Tommy's music ministry recently, Dr. Bajaj suggested Tommy play at the upcoming Cancer Benefit.
On September 26, Tommy will continue to be an inspiration to this community as he performs during the Cancer Benefit, held at the Florence Little Theatre. He feels good knowing that all proceeds of the benefit will support the very cancer program that has impacted his care.
"I want to live my life helping others," says Tommy. "And I believe I have a long life ahead.
About Tommy Graham
Formerly of Lake City, South Carolina, Tommy Graham has lived in Florence since 1992. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Coker College and was a soloist with the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the Piedmont Chamber Orchestra. In addition, he was a scholarship member and soloist with the Hartsville Civic Chorale in their July 1994 European tour.
Tommy was a part-time music director for twenty years in the Pee Dee area. He surrendered to part-time music evangelism in 2002, and he has shared his love of music throughout the neighboring counties and several states. He has also completed three Christian music CDs.
In addition, Tommy taught general music, chorus and band at Briggs Elementary until his cancer diagnosis in July of 2012.
Tommy and his wife, Sharon, attend Greenwood Baptist Church, where Tommy is very active in the music department. He and Sharon have three children and three grandchildren.