“How Big of an obstacle with an even Bigger positivity”

Brian with his daughters

At the age of 35, Brian began experiencing similar symptoms to a prior bout with Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis that he had just 11 years earlier. After months of doctors’ appointments, there was no clear understanding of whether the vasculitis had returned, or if it was something else. It wasn’t until his hematologist referred Brian to Dr. Favaro at Oncology Specialists of Charlotte (OSC) who evaluated his history, labs and nailed the diagnosis of polycythemia vera (PV). A rare type of blood cancer, PV causes your bone marrow to make too many red blood cells. These excess cells thicken your blood, slowing its flow, which may cause serious problems, such as blood clots, heart issues and even strokes.

When he learned about his diagnosis of PV, Brian’s first thoughts turned to his daughters, Kenedie and Karsyn, ages 7 and 5 at the time. As a single father raising two daughters, he was thinking about the future – how he would manage taking care of them, his career, and the many things he planned. “I love my girls more than anything and one of my concerns was could this be hereditary”. Thankfully, while 95% of all PV cases are tied to the genetic mutation of JAK2, it is not hereditary.

With PV, this cancer causes Brian to have leg pains and his body to hurt all over, a condition called neuropathy, but it does come and go as he noted. He goes with a positive outlook saying, “PV doesn’t define me or change anything we had ever hoped for”. Which is true as you could find Brian, Kenedie, and Karsyn (now ages 14 and 11) on just about every local field or court. They all love sports and Brian coaches the girls’ competitive travel basketball teams. Pre-covid, the girls and Brian even ran an event in their close-nit, supportive community of Davidson on behalf of the MPN Foundation. With the help of friends, family and the community, their fundraiser The Mobley Crew Block Party, raised over $25,000 in two years to support cancer research. While there is currently no cure for PV, Brian’s goal has always been to support others fighting and to help find a cure for those struggling with these rare blood cancers.

Now at age 41, he admits that the first year of treatments he wrestled mentally with the diagnosis and the once-a-week phlebotomies. “After a bit, I did start to accept that PV was and is part of our life”, Brian contended. He owes much of that acceptance to his team of doctors, nurses, and staff at OSC. “They have all truly made this journey much easier and for that, I’m forever grateful”. He continued, “every time I come to an appointment, even though there are reminders on the drive, maybe even a few tears…I always feel welcomed and like family when I walk into the office. Without this group of people at OSC, I’m not sure where I would be today”.

Brian celebrated his 6-year Cancerversary this past October. He vividly recalls the afternoon he received the diagnosis. It was a Friday, and he had a Halloween Trick-or-Treat event planned with his girls that evening in Davidson. And yes, he was surely not going to have them miss out on the candy, thus he took them to the event.

Of course, he eventually sat down with the girls many months later and discussed his cancer diagnosis. Brian proudly stated, “My girls have been, and are my biggest supporters. I’ve learned more from Kenedie and Karsyn than I’ll ever be able to teach them. Along with family, friends, our basketball family, and the Davidson community…it’s their support, positivity, strength, and unconditional love that keep me going each day”.

Brian attended college in-state and graduated from UNC-G with a finance degree. He currently works for Barry, Evans, Josephs & Snipes, a small boutique firm in Charlotte that works with individuals, families, and businesses to persevere wealth and mitigate taxes.