Yard sign tells Viera man’s victory against cancer


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Shane Presley, right, who survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stands with his father, Michael, center, and Luis Merced, left, co-owner of Yard Card Brevard in Suntree. Merced and his wife Suzanne put up the sign in front of the family’s Six Mile Creek home in Viera to commemorate Presley’s cancer victory.

Ernest Arico

When Shane Presley discovered a lump on the side of his neck last May he didn’t think it was that big a deal.

The 20 year old was looking forward to starting his junior year at the University of Central Florida and continuing his studies toward a degree in business management.

But when his mother, Jessica, an MRI technician at Viera Hospital, saw the lump she realized that her son needed to see a doctor immediately.

 One month later, Presley was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and was ordered to undergo multiple cycles and sessions of chemotherapy at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute in Orlando.

“I didn’t know what Hodgkin’s lymphoma was,” said Presley, who played four years of basketball at Eau Gallie High School before graduating in 2018. “It was pretty scary.”

According to the website — childrenscancerresearch.org — Hodgkin's lymphoma is caused by a change (mutation) in the DNA of a type of white blood cell called B lymphocytes, although the exact reason why this happens isn't known. The DNA gives the cells a basic set of instructions, such as when to grow and reproduce.

People between the ages of 15 and 40 and people older than 55 are more likely to develop Hodgkin's lymphoma.

In general, men are slightly more likely to develop Hodgkin's lymphoma than women, although the nodular sclerosis subtype is more common in women.

Hodgkin's lymphoma might cause the following general symptoms: swollen lymph nodes, fever, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, itchy skin, fatigue and loss of appetite.

“It definitely hit us very hard,” said Presley’s father, Michael. “He’s the healthiest person of us all. He’s very active and plays a lot of sports. We were shocked when we heard the news.”

Because they caught the cancer early, Presley’s chances of survival are very good — a 94 percent survival rate during a five-year period. “The doctor told me to stay active during the (chemotherapy) treatment,” Presley said. “I had the treatment every two weeks.”

Presley also said he reacted well to the chemotherapy, so good that he kept most of his hair. “I was very surprised because I would see the other patients and most of them had lost their hair.”

Presley also was ordered to eat a Mediterranean diet, inspired by the eating habits of Italy and Greece in the 1960s. The principal aspects of this diet include proportionally high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), moderate wine consumption and low consumption of non-fish meat products. Olive oil has been studied as a potential health factor for reducing all-cause mortality and the risk of chronic disease.

Last month, Dr. Muhammad Imam, a cancer specialist at the institute, told Presley that he was in full remission. His last chemotherapy session was Aug. 10.

To commemorate the event, Suzanne and Luis Merced, owners of Yard Card Brevard, a sign company in Suntree, decided to put up a sign after reading about Presley’s cancer fight on Facebook.

The couple, who have known the Presleys for years, quietly put up the sign around 11 p.m. on the front lawn of the family’s Crane Creek Boulevard home in the Six Mile Creek subdivision in Viera. The sign read in big, bold letters: “I FOUGHT CANCER AND WON.” Included with the sign was a picture of a basketball, signifying Presley’s favorite sport.

“I was pretty surprised when I saw it the next morning,” Presley said. “It was kind of weird, kind of crazy.”

Now, Presley will take some time off to recuperate before resuming his studies at UCF in January 2021.