It was a birthday Brian Tieber would never forget. He received a diagnosis of stage 4 head and neck cancer on the day he turned 45, with his wife by his side. While she listened intently about what they needed to do next, all Tieber could focus on was the clouds outside the window of his doctor's office.
"He shared the news with me, and my first thought was, 'I wonder if it will rain today,'" Tieber says. "Being diagnosed with any kind of late-stage cancer is something that is really hard to process immediately, if at all. I knew my life would never be the same, but I also knew I wasn't going to give in to this disease."
Soon after diagnosis, Tieber began treatment at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. His treatment consisted of both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. During that time he met lead registered nurse Girley Acierto, a cancer survivor herself.
"Half the battle with cancer is getting through treatment," explains Tieber. "Girley was my nurse and my champion; she was always there for me. Because of Girley, I knew I could get through this because she battled cancer as well and has been cancer-free for more than 10 years, which made me even more confident that she was well-equipped to help me."
Three years later, Tieber is also cancer-free and uses his experience as motivation to give back. He started Hope and Victory Cancer Care, an organization that creates care packages for patients battling cancer. From his familiarity with treatment, Tieber knows exactly what patients need from these packages, like lemon drops to remove the taste caused by chemotherapy and playing cards for entertainment during long treatment sessions.
"Brian is a genuinely caring, kind and selfless person who is not afraid of where life takes him," says Acierto. "Watching him talk to our patients and give them care packages are priceless moments I will never forget."
Hope and Victory Cancer Care delivers care packages throughout San Diego and Chula Vista. Each month, with care packages in tow, Tieber returns to Sharp Chula Vista to provide care and support to others in need.
Tieber's Hope and Victory Cancer Care is one of many organizations that provide support to patients at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. Learn more about Sharp HealthCare cancer support groups.
For the news media: To talk with Brian Tieber about his care packages for Sharp Chula Vista cancer patients, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.