‘I want to be able to survive it,’ says Knoxville man with cancer during coronavirus pandemic


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville man is hoping his message regarding the coronavirus outbreak and the immunocompromised makes an impression; one that he’s even shared on Facebook.

MORE: Tracking Coronavirus

Brandon Suttles is undergoing chemotherapy treatments and because of that, has a weakened immune system. Recently he shared on social media that his concerns about the coronavirus are adding to his worry.

Pictures have been snapped here and there showing the changes Suttles has experienced since this winter when he was diagnosed with MDS or myelodyplastic syndrome, a bone marrow and blood cancer.

“Which means my white blood cell count is so low where the only thing fighting off any virus is my skin. So, since December I’ve been quarantined just like everyone pretty much is now,” explained Suttles.

On a monthly schedule, he has lab work done twice a week and chemo for five days in a row.

“Originally, I thought it was going to be tough with flu season, having to fight off flu season with no immune system and now with the coronavirus I’m even more worried,” he said.

Suttles says he’s really worried about getting sick since he’s already had two bad cases of pneumonia. It’s why his family is taking even more precautions during the pandemic.

“I’ve been wearing a mask regardless of everywhere I go. Before I felt self-conscious, out of place or weird, sometimes I would wear gloves depending on where I have to go but now, everyone is wearing a mask and gloves everywhere they go, so they look like me now,” he added.

As time goes on during this pandemic, Suttles is asking we all take this virus seriously.

“Please – not only for me to see my kids grow up but for others to see their kids and grandkids grow up,” he said.

He’s also begging people to stay hone and not be selfish, “I wish that people would think more of others than themselves. If you’re only worrying about yourself, there’s no way we can make it through it. We have to be able to stick together.”

While it’s a scary time, Suttles says there is one positive, he has three bone marrow donor matches.

“I want to be able to survive it, not only through my cancer but I want to be able to survive this whole process to be able to grow up with my kids, tell them about it, what happened and hopefully they’ll learn from it,” he said of the pandemic.

Suttles hopes his story encourages those who are healthy right now to donate blood or consider signing up to be a bone marrow donor.

COVID-19 in Tennessee

(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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