Local pastor’s cancer returns

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Suffolk is supporting one of its own as he undergoes another treatment for his ongoing fight against cancer.

Oakland Christian United Church of Christ Pastor Greg Ryan’s acute myeloid leukemia has come back after a period of remission. He’s been at the Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, N.C., for chemotherapy since Friday.

“I am sad and disappointed to tell you that I have had a relapse of my leukemia,” Ryan stated in a Facebook post to friends. “I am undergoing chemo at this time and expect to be hospitalized for a month. Please keep us in your prayers.”

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Ryan’s leukemia was in remission as he recovered from his treatments following his diagnosis in May. He had preached at a service on Feb. 12 and seemed like he was ready to come back, friends said. The relapse was confirmed during his regular scheduled appointment on Wednesday.

“Needless to say I was shocked, as was Greg, when we learned that his leukemia had returned,” his wife, Terry Schaefer Ryan said. “We’re both still struggling to come to terms with this development. It’s extremely difficult to see someone that you love so dearly go through this.”

Ryan was diagnosed while celebrating his 18th wedding anniversary with his wife in Hawaii in May. He had become ill and eventually was flown by a medevac flight to Duke Medical Center for diagnosis and treatment.

AML is a bone marrow cancer that results in abnormally high white blood cell counts. It is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults.

“Greg finished his five-day course of chemo last night,” Schaefer Ryan stated Tuesday. “He will remain in the hospital for about one month.”

Friends can send cards and well wishes to Ryan care of Schaefer Ryan’s daughter, Kate Cohen, at 1103 Poplar St., Durham, NC 27703, while he is in recovery. His 54th birthday is Thursday.

“We’re so appreciative of the prayers and support from the members of Oakland Christian Church and the community of Suffolk,” Schaefer Ryan said.