Dr. Gallaher, professor of biology, shared his recent kidney cancer diagnosis in “The Gathering” on Tuesday. Professor Gallaher recently returned to teaching classes after the shocking medical diagnosis near the beginning of March. He spoke to students about his struggles and the belonging he found within the Lipscomb community.
“One month ago today I discovered that I had Kidney Cancer,” Gallaher said. “We humans are fragile creatures. The day before I got my diagnosis was like any other day. In an instant it was all taken away.”
The week after Dr. Gallaher received the diagnosis, he went in for surgery to have the mass removed. Due to complications, he ended up getting his entire kidney removed and lost a lot of blood in the process. What was supposed to be a couple days in the hospital ended up being a week in the intensive care unit.
“I am six-foot-four. I weigh 265 pounds,” he said. “I have lived my life physically imposing, mentally tough. I conquer things. I do stuff that is significant. But in a moment I was weak as a kitten.”
After the news of his diagnosis spread throughout social media, Dr. Gallaher said he was contacted by over 300 people in the Lipscomb community and throughout the country. Past students, current students, fellow faculty and other community members offered support while he was in the hospital.
“The encouragement I received was overwhelming,” Gallaher said. “God shows up through the kindness of his people. That’s my story that I have been living.”
Walking around on campus, Professor Gallaher said people are disengaged and numb in their lives. He encouraged students to be a part of the community and seek to belong.
“You can’t wait to invest in a community until you need it,” Gallaher said. “You have to invest in the community to belong to it. I know what it’s like to be a part of a community.”