LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- For years David Klein is a name people have come to know for his endless energy, zest for life, and charitable work, but what you may not know is he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2001.
Now, Klein is using his story of survival to help raise awareness and support the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. His story will be highlighted at this year's Julep Ball.
Looking at Klein and the life he has led, he appears to be the picture of perfect health.
"I’m a runner and when I had to quit running I have always been a bicycle racer,” Klein said.
The former chief operating officer at the Bank of Louisville said he has also spent most his life involved in charitable activities until his life was changed forever in 2001.
"You see those cells there. Those are leukemia cells, right there he said it," Klein said.
He underwent treatment in Houston, his family there fighting with him every step of the way, but his prognosis was not good. He needed a bone marrow transplant and the clock was ticking. Still Klein's outlook was one of "I will defeat this."
“I rode my bicycle all through cancer. I rode my bike in my room, I rode while I was taking high dose chemo to prepare for the transplant and I rode two days after my transplant,” he said.
Shortly after the transplant, Klein said he faced a number of complications. He'd been taking 21 different drugs each day, developed diabetes, shingles and a blood clot in his lung, however, Klein said what shocked him the most was when his feisty “I will defeat this” attitude turned into a deep depression.
“Emotionally in 2008, the wheels finally came off emotionally and I developed PTSD,” Klein said. "The doctors take care of the cancer, and what I am all about in my advocacy and my personal mission is to bring awareness to the fact is that several things happen along the way.”
Medically he's on the road to recovery, in remission since 2010. The bigger problem was what no doctor could fix; how could he put his life back together. Klein said he met Dr. Donald Miller with the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and helped them fund the Patient Navigator Center.
“Patient services is key to patients surviving in my opinion and they said we agree with you and they said we'll support you. And that's how I got involved in brown cancer center," Klein said.
The center has a nurse well versed in all patient care and there to help families and the patient through emotional, physical and social issues. While the doctor treats the cancer, this treats the patient.
“Cancer patients need that support, before during and especially after . And supporting the programs that the brown cancer center is putting together is what that night is all about," Klein said.
Klein is so passionate and vocal about helping those with cancer he recently donated $10,000 from a Gilda's Club fund-raising to hold a moment of silence for all those that have lost their lives to cancer -
Appropriate for a man that has never been silent about the raising awareness for cancer patients.
Klein will be honored and speak at this year’s Julep Ball this Friday, May 3, at the KFC Yum! Center.