Cancer was the last thing on the mind of this 25-year-old from San Antonio, Texas.
Healthy and active, Jason Serchay enjoyed running marathons and stayed busy while pursuing a graduate degree in cybersecurity. It was just over a year ago when he and a friend were on a trip to Colorado and Jason became uncharacteristically exhausted just one mile into a hike. Not long after that, Jason discovered swelling in his testicles and went to his physician. An ultrasound showed that Jason had stage 3 testicular cancer. “I was in shock,” Jason described. The life he knew suddenly came to a halt. Jason had three surgeries within the following week, and then started three rounds of intensive chemotherapy at a hospital near his home in San Antonio.
The wonderful support of his family and friends helped him get through many difficult months and complete his treatments. Finally, Jason’s life began to return to normal. He went back to school and even began to grow hair again. But his remission was short-lived. Just two months later, scans showed cancer again and chemotherapy was restarted immediately. Jason’s oncologist decided to consult Indiana University’s Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, considered the world’s leading expert in testicular cancer. A short time later, while sitting at the hospital during a chemotherapy infusion, Jason received a phone call from Dr. Einhorn himself. “I didn’t know who it was and almost didn’t pick up the phone,” Jason said. “Dr. Einhorn talked with me about my case for 30 minutes. He encouraged me to come to Indianapolis.” But that decision wasn’t easy.
Being 1,100 miles from home for almost two months, as his treatment would require, presented numerous challenges. Jason and his family weighed the pro’s and con’s. Finally, one day, while waiting at a stoplight, Jason closed his eyes and asked God for the guidance he needed. When he looked up, right in front of him was a car with an Indiana University license plate. It was the sign he needed. “I had the mindset of a fighter,” Jason shared. “I was determined to do what I had to do.”
Getting ready for the trip was more overwhelming for Jason’s mom, Mary, a registered nurse, who struggled to make travel arrangements and take time off work. But once again God showed them that He was there when, just two days before their flight to Indianapolis, they found out that an apartment at Fair Haven would be ready for them when they arrived. “We came here alone, but Fair Haven made us feel like part of a family,” Jason shared. “The cozy apartment was so welcoming and comfortable and clean. It made me feel good. I felt God there.” The apartment would be a refuge for Mary and Jason during weeks of high-dose chemotherapy and two stem cell transplants.
While lying in his hospital bed one day as his treatments neared an end, Jason decided that he wanted to use his experience to benefit others. He realized that he could make a difference for other young men like himself. “Before the diagnosis, I felt invincible,” Jason said. “I think that’s how a lot of guys feel.” But Jason wants to increase awareness about testicular cancer so that it can be detected early. “There is a 99% cure rate for those diagnosed in Stage 1,” Jason explained.
“I want to plant seeds and spark people to take action. If I make a difference for just one person, it will be worth it.”
Jason and his mom recently returned home to San Antonio, but they’ll never forget their time in Indianapolis and their home-away-from-home at Fair Haven. “Fair Haven to me means family,” Jason shared. “I felt like you had our backs.” We’re so grateful for the bond we share with this special family, and we can’t wait to see what God has in store for Jason!