Blog : A Call To Faith

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Feature Article

The following was published in the quarterly newsletter to patients, survivors, and family members by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  I was treated their for the first cancer I had, thyroid cancer, in my late twenties.  I appreciate all the staff of Bridges, and the doctors and nurses who cared for me there.  I hope you enjoy the story.

As I looked up at the building, I realized that I had passed it hundreds of times as I traversed the city in my mergers
and acquisition business duties, never giving it a second thought. Today was different — very different. You see, during a routine physical a lump was found in my throat, and it was determined that I needed to see a specialist. I had a friend who just went through cancer treatment and suggested that I go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. I took her advice. My wife and I stood before MSKCC wondering what the appointment would hold. I was nervous and anxious, as I was only 29 years old and had never been sick a day in my life.
As I recall, the waiting area was warm and comforting, although I felt cold and somewhat panicky inside. The hospital staff had received my documentation from my primary care physician and was well aware of my situation. A biopsy would be needed of the nodule in my throat, which was about the size of a peppercorn. To make a long story short, the biopsy came back positive for papillary carcinoma of the thyroid gland. Not the news I was expecting to hear. If you are going to have thyroid cancer, this is the least aggressive form of the several that are out there. The treatment protocol does not call for radiation or chemotherapy, but surgery. Surgery didn’t sound too bad, except that it would be my throat that they would be cutting!
The friend who had suggested I go to MSKCC had had the same surgery there and said that all went well for her. She actually had a plastic surgeon on hand to do the closing, so as to minimize the potential scarring. Having her to talk to throughout the process was a great help in knowing what to expect. My surgery went off without a hitch as well. I let the general surgeon close my wound, as opposed to a plastic surgeon. Must be a guy thing!
As it turns out, this was not my last experience with cancer. I later learned that from somewhere along the family genetic line I got a faulty p53 gene, which has something to do with turning on and off cancer activity in cells. As I aged, I was diagnosed with two melanomas; both were caught in time and were removed with surgery. No need for any radiation or chemotherapy.
Then, havoc struck again. My family and I had moved to Charleston, South Carolina. As I was getting on a ride at the fair with my daughter, the act of putting my arm around her snapped the bone in my right arm.
I was in such pain that I flew off the ride before it started, without any thought of my daughter, who was only five at the time. The doctors had determined that it was a pathological fracture, and after much testing came up with a diagnosis of Ewing’s sarcoma, a primary bone cancer.
I am now in remission from the bone cancer, but lost the use of my right arm. I was looking for hope during that journey, but it was difficult to find in those days. I am thankful for publications like the Bridges newsletter that let us share our stories and inspire us with messages of hope from other survivors


So you’ve Self-Published; Now What? A Guest Post on BookMasters

August 15, 2012 by bookmasters12

The hard part is done.  You have completed your new best seller.  You have just purchased a new wheel-barrel to collect all the cash that will soon be rolling in.  Your family, friends and co-workers have kept you afloat for the first several months with more than acceptable sales figures.  But wait.  What is happening?  Is there more to life than Amazon?

The Online Train is Moving

The online giants have lulled you into a world where everything is packaged perfectly for your new baby.  Great picture of your book, a brief description of your work, and even an attractive picture of you, the author, with your bio.  Reviews with loving words and nothing but kind gestures.  Armed with your Best Seller Ranking, you are now ready to move on to other and possibly more lucrative distribution channels.  Be careful.

Other Channels of Distribution

Don’t get me wrong, the online giants are wonderful places to sell your book.  In fact, many authors go no where but online.  In the words of self-publishing guru Dan Poynter, the hardest place to sell a book is at the bookstore!  On the surface, you would assume that the large and independent bookstores would love to sell your book.  Why not?  After all, there is another title they can add to their repertoire, and the margins aren’t so bad as well.

A lot depends upon the Publisher

Selling your book directly to the consumer either through your website or through an online source is a relatively straight forward proposition.  It gets a little trickier when you venture off the online train and attempt to move to the major wholesalers.  One thing to look out for is whether or not the publishing entity will take returns on your book.  If so, all is good.  If not, this could be a major hurdle that you have to overcome in order to get your book distributed offline.  The retailer at the end of the line needs to be able to return it to an entity, like a publisher, if the consumer is unhappy with their purchase, or there is something wrong with the book itself. 

Don’t be Caught off Guard

While the online market is a great and necessary place to be, such can be said of the offline market of bookstores, big box stores, and the plethora of other opportunities for sales.  If your publisher will not accept returns, it is not the end of the world.  There are companies out there who specialize in distributing other publisher’s books once completed.  Usually another ISBN is established and away you go.  Make sure if you are in the early phases of your project, you check on returns and what is really in the fine print of expanded distribution.

Author Bio

John Patrick (Jay) Thomas is a four-time cancer survivor who lives with his family in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.  Jay attended Gettysburg College and The American University before embarking on an entrepreneurial career on Wall Street.  Jay turned to the teaching profession after his life-threatening bout with bone cancer, where he has taught at Charleston Southern University, Southern Wesleyan University, and more recently at West Ashley High School.  He has traveled as a missionary and may be one of the few people that tell you cancer was the best thing to ever happen to him.  You’ll have to ask him why.

J. Patrick Thomas Joins

Charleston, SC August 14, 2012 is pleased to announce that J. Patrick Thomas will be featured on the popular book sampling site – joining the ranks of the most famous authors in the world.

As a featured author, various chapters of Thomas’s true story are now available to thousands of readers to sample – free of charge. At BookDaily, book fans can browse, search and read first chapters from a selection of more than 80,000 titles.

J. Patrick Thomas is currently promoting A Call to Faith:  the Journey of a Cancer Survivor.  An inspirational story in the health and spirituality categories, A Call to Faith is a true story set in Charleston and finds its characters meandering throughout the Lowcountry.

Young and aggressive, beautiful wife and children, and a small fortune before the age of thirty.  He had it all – or did he?  He never knew his marine aviator father who died in a plane crash when he was young.  Struck with the tragedy of a younger sister who committed suicide in college and who continued to pay apparitional visits in times of need.  Encounters with God at just the appropriate time when giving up on life was more than a thought.  But the toughest battles may still lie ahead of him; finding his faith in God through cancer and divorce. Visit Thomas’s website at and his BookDaily page as well at

Launched in May 2009, BookDaily has rapidly become the leading source of book samples by email. More than 10 million sample chapters have been distributed through and through the site’s email subscriptions.  The site is a division of ArcaMax Publishing, the leader in consumer news and entertainment by email.



J. Patrick Thomas/


Four-year-old cancer survivor McKenna May has made it to Disney World

McKenna, who is recovering from treatment for leukaemia, made headlines around the world last month after her father refused to sign a release form for the theme park holiday in Orlando, Florida.

He reportedly told her that a sicker child with less than six months to live should get the trip.

She had already postponed the holiday twice because of her cancer treatment, which finished in June. Chemotherapy treatments following her diagnosis at age 2 have affected her speech and immune system.

But the story has a happy ending, reports.

McKenna has arrived at Give Kids the World in Orlando – a resort built for children with life-threatening illnesses who are visiting the area’s attractions such as Disney World, Sea World, Legoland and Universal Studios’ Harry Potter park.

“It’s really exciting,” McKenna’s mum Whitney Hughes said. “It’s also kind of a shock factor too, can’t believe we’re actually here.

“I had faith that it would (happen), but I didn’t think it would happen this fast.”

McKenna’s father William May of Toledo, who is not married to Ms Hughes, said donations made to the Make-A-Wish organisation should help those who are terminally ill.

“Spend the money on a child who this might be their last memory,” Mr May said in refusing the gift on his daughter’s behalf.

But after the story hit the news, businesses and individuals across America teamed up to raise money for the trip, including McKenna’s two young nephews who sold icy-poles on the street.

A group called Jamie’s Dream Team ended up sponsoring the vacation.

Child with Cancer goes to Disney World

Child with Cancer goes to Disney World


Cancer Survivor Helps Children

Childhood Cancer Survivor

Childhood Cancer Survivor

Shelby Robin speaks to her “12-year-old self”

Shelby Robin was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma at age 12. An athletic child, she continued to participate in sports and cheerleading, even after the cancer necessitated the amputation of her left foot.

Now a clinical nurse in the Children’s Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson, Shelby is a featured speaker at the 24th annual Anderson Network Cancer Survivorship Conference Sept. 14-15 at the Omni Westside, 13210 Katy Freeway.