John Robert Holiday - known far and wide in the Rim Country as Doc Holiday - is a cancer survivor. He is celebrating that survival by walking in his third Payson Relay for Life.
"I am going to walk in it as long as I am able," he said.
A little more than three years ago Holiday was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"There was no indication that I recognized at the time. I had a checkup and the doctor sent for a biopsy," he said.
Ten samples were taken and all were positive for cancer. It was too much for surgical treatment, so his options were seed implants or external radiation.
"They told me it was sometimes possible to pass the seeds and as long as I had them I would not be able to hold a child or animal in my lap because I'd be radioactive," Holiday said.
He opted for the external radiation, which required 38 treatments and a shot of chemotherapy in the belly every 16 weeks for about two years.
"I had to have two bone scans because of the concern the cancer may have spread. And once it's in your bones it's a death sentence," he said.
The cancer had not spread and the check he had at the end of his treatment showed a good outcome and the results have progressively improved through subsequent testing.
"My last one showed undetectable," he said.
Holiday said the level of care and the quality of his treatment by the local medical professionals he saw was excellent.
"And it was obviously successful. I still have two feet on this side of the grass."
There was no history of cancer in Holiday's family.
"Looking back I was probably going to the bathroom more, but I thought it was just old age," he said.
He urges every man to be screened for prostate cancer.
The treatment was no big deal, he said. "I'd go in three times a week. Get on the table and be done in 10 to 12 minutes and go on my way."
"If I had caught mine earlier, there would have been much less worry," he said.
In the meantime, join Holiday and the hundreds of other Rim Country residents as they celebrate surviving cancer and remember those who have lost their battle at the annual Relay for Life. The event starts at 6 p.m., Friday, June 6 and concludes at 6 a.m., Saturday, June 7 and will be held at the Payson High School football field.
Holiday was still in treatment when Su Connell persuaded him to participate in the walk. She invited him to do it again last year. This year he made the choice to take part. Friends, including Kathy Bickert, a co-worker from KCMA, will join him. Holiday will also grace the dunk tank. If you want to try putting him in the water, look for him around 6:30 p.m., Friday.
The Relay for Life will feature a wide variety of special events, music, food and fun.
The solemn luminaria ceremony, to remember those who have died from cancer, is scheduled for 9 p.m.