This is the second Christmas season that Larry and his wife have visited 4B as Santa and Mrs. Claus. They join the “Candy Cane Brigade,” a group of teammates that deliver candy canes to cancer patients who are spending the holidays in the hospital.

News | 3 months ago

Cancer Survivor Spreads Joy to Cancer Patients

When Larry Webb was diagnosed with leukemia in 2017, he formed a special bond with his care team at Levine Cancer Institute. This is the second holiday season that he and his wife have participated in the "Candy Cane Brigade" dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Clause to help bring smiles to patient's faces during the holidays. 
Larry Webb was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2017. He was told that, without treatment, he would live about four months. The 68-year-old was admitted to Carolinas Medical Center within two hours of diagnosis and endured an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy, followed by a stem cell transplant in April 2018. Overall he spent about 75 days in the hospital. 

Larry says he was there less than an hour when a nurse told him she had his back, and that they would be his family through this time. “I was in shock and couldn’t wrap my brain around it then, but she was right,” Larry says. “Even though I already had family, they did become family for me. Those oncology nurses are angels in disguise. They are a special bunch, and I try to make them feel that way as often as I can.”

Larry and his wife Carol visit 4B, the stem cell transplant floor, about once a month, bringing hugs and treats to their “family” of nurses. “Larry’s a very positive person, always concerned with giving back,” says Karen Riley, RN, who was part of Larry’s care team. “It’s wonderful for nurses, because it’s hard some days. It really helps us to see someone who’s had such a wonderful outcome. And it helps our current patients, too.” 

Larry always engages with any patients he sees walking the halls. “I have a special place in my heart for cancer patients, and I just love to put a smile on their faces,” says Larry. “I’ve been where they are, and I know their journey. I lost all my hair. Lost 40 pounds and suffered the effects of chemo. They like hearing my experience and seeing a person who’s made it to the other side of a stem cell transplant.”

This is the second Christmas season that Larry and his wife have visited 4B as Santa and Mrs. Claus. They join the “Candy Cane Brigade,” a group of teammates that deliver candy canes to cancer patients who are spending the holidays in the hospital. They also deliver special messages of hope from people both locally and around the world. “If I can bring patients a smile once in a while, then that’s what I want to do,” says Larry. “I think perhaps it’s an answer to why God left me here: To give them hope. To show them that if an old man can make it through, then they can, too.”