Last year, multiple myeloma kept McAdenville’s Mayor from enjoying the town’s Christmas fun. This year, he’s back with bells on.

News | 2 years ago

Healing the Mayor of Christmas Town USA Close to Home

Last year, multiple myeloma kept McAdenville’s Mayor from enjoying the town’s Christmas fun. This year, he’s back with bells on.

The Mayor of Christmas Town missed the Christmas fun. Jim Robinette is the Mayor of McAdenville, N.C., known to many as Christmas Town USA for its elaborate Christmas lights that attract people from hundreds of miles away. This time last year, though, he missed the night of the big lighting. Last December, his newly diagnosed multiple myeloma sent him to the hospital during much of the holiday season. Back home, the holiday festivities had to go on without him.

This year was different. Jim attended the lighting. Jim cheered the town’s traditional German log roll at the 71st Annual Yule Log Parade. The Mayor of Christmas Town was back for the holiday fun. During the year in between, he found healing and renewed strength at Levine Cancer Institute-Gaston, receiving world-class care close to home.

A Life-threatening Situation

To Jim, the first sign of trouble was leg pain. As Jim put up shelves in McAdenville’s new town hall last fall, his leg began to hurt. It didn’t stop hurting after he returned home. After several appointments with doctor’s, he learned that the leg pain was an indicator of multiple myeloma, a cancer that grows in plasma cells.

A few months before, Levine Cancer Institute had just opened a new facility in Gastonia, about ten minutes away from McAdenville. It was there where Jim worked with Adarsh Hiremath, MD, a Levine Cancer Institute oncologist, to find the treatment best for him.

“The diagnosis was multiple myeloma, and it was very aggressive,” says Dr. Hiremath. “This was a life-threatening situation.”

Dr. Hiremath, in collaboration with the team at Levine Cancer Institute, administered a chemotherapy that was best in class to treat Jim’s cancer. Jim received the majority of his chemotherapy treatments in the Gastonia office. As summer began, Jim began to regain his strength and feel much better. McAdenville’s mayoral elections would be that fall, and he even began to wonder if he should run again.

“Before I decided to run for reelection, I talked to Dr. Hiremath,” Jim says. “I said, ‘You know this is a four-year term, right? What do you think?’ And he looked at me and said, ‘I think you’ll be around a lot longer than that.’”

Jim ran for Mayor again. And this December, amid the Christmas festivities in McAdenville, he was sworn in for his second term as Mayor.

Cutting-edge Cancer Treatments, Close to Home

Today, Jim’s multiple myeloma is hardly detectable. He now receives maintenance treatments, just once every two weeks, at Levine Cancer Institute - Gaston.

“It means a lot [to have cancer care so close to home],” Jim says. “I see ads on TV where people travel to other places around the country for treatment, and it’s great what we have here with Levine Cancer Institute.”

The Gastonia facility has a team of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurse navigators, social workers, dieticians and more, providing comprehensive cancer care.

“I came to this office after working at Levine Cancer Institute - Morehead, and it’s nice to have a piece of that in our community, closer to home,” says nurse manager Dawn Knight, RN, BSN, OCN, of Levine Cancer Institute - Gaston. “A lot of us who work here also live in this area, and we get to bring the great resources of Levine Cancer Institute to Gastonia.”