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Man With No Voice Box Among Survivors to "Relay for Life"
WEST CARROLLTON -- Cancer touches all of us in some way and people around the Miami Valley are taking a stand to fight it. For one West Carrollton family, they have seen their fair share of cancer and will be relaying for life.
You can barely make out his words, but Bill Gilman told us, "I used to whistle a lot... and I can't whistle."
So he improvises by clapping. He has no voice box, and has been throat cancer-free for 21 years now.
"(He was) talkative, animated, loud, life of the party. And I remember at the time when they told me they were going to have to take his voice box. They can take his arms or his legs, but not his voice box," said his daughter, Karla Gilman.
But Bill taught himself "esophageal speech."
"I was determined that I was going to learn to speak."
"He's basically taking in air and expelling it. That's how he speaks," explained Karla. "But the first sentence he said was Happy Birthday Karla."
Karla is Bill's youngest, and the two spend a lot of time together. This is the very path they will be walking together in about two weeks, as they join hundreds walking in the Relay for Life in West Carrollton.
"Cancer has a way to make you feel powerless because you see what it can do to some people," said Karla who got involved years ago. They walk for survivors like Bill, for those fighting cancer, and for those who are no longer with us. People like Karla's sister-in-law.
"I have you know, nieces and a nephew and I hope that they don't have to worry about the word cancer one day."
Karla's passion for the Relay is fueled by her Dad's amazing attitude
"He always said, I didn't lose my voice, I'm volume impaired."
"You've got to stay positive, that's what I tell everybody," said Bill pumping his fist.
You may have to get close to hear him speak, but you will always hear his whistle.
ABC 22/FOX 45 is a proud sponsor of the West Carrollton-Miamisburg Relay for Life. It's happening Saturday, August 3, 2013, at the West Carrollton Civic Center. It starts at 3 p.m. Saturday and goes until 9 a.m. Sunday.
To sign up for the Relay or help in the fight against cancer, click here.
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