Vincent BeCraft is the first person greeting visitors to ADEC’s administration building and he always gives a hearty: ‘Have a great day!’ as they’re leaving.
Part of the reason he says it with such conviction is because not too long ago, he wasn’t sure how many days he had remaining.
One night in 2012, after putting up a privacy fence with his friends, Vincent went to bed feeling a little off. He woke up the next morning with a softball-sized knot on the side of his neck.
His first thought was that it was a spider bite, but nobody could figure out the problem. His doctor gave him medicine, but it was ineffective. He went to the dentist, where he was told it looked like a tumor and he needed to see a specialist.
Turns out, he had cancer in his tonsils.
“The doctors told me that 98 percent of these cases end up with the throat closing,” Vincent says. “I was part of the lucky 2 percent.”
His fight to beat cancer took determination and will. He had a total of 38 radiation treatments before it was all said and done. For treatment, he traveled to Indianapolis and found a place to stay.
Now, he’s found a spot with ADEC and is happy to stay. His job coach, Monica Davis, is proud of what Vincent’s achieving.
“He’s very talkative and very personable,” she says. “He’s got the eye contact, he has all the skills needed and he’s not shy at all.”
Before he got to ADEC, he had to beat cancer. Radiation was tough.
“The radiation made the top of my mouth as red as red can be,” he says. “First time I took a drink of pop, I thought it was gasoline.”
From Monday through Friday — for three months — it was radiation treatments. On Tuesday, it was chemotherapy for six-and-a-half hours.
After finishing the treatments, Vincent says the radiation and chemotherapy had significantly destroyed the tumor, but they still wanted to remove it. They found a live cancer cell in his jugular, so they removed it along with 36 lymph nodes and a nerve, which prevents him from lifting his arms above his head.
“They even had to relocate my coronary artery,” Vincent says. “Because if I had gotten hit in the neck, I would have been dead.”
After continuous checkups for the next five years in which doctors ran scopes up his nose and down his throat to make sure he was progressing well, one of the best days of his life was when he was declared cancer free.
“I was sort of nervous right before they told me, because I didn’t know what they were going to say,” he says. “But once I found out, I was jumping up and down.”
Nowadays, Vincent is all smiles. His happiness is contagious, and he’ll be the first to greet a visitor to ADEC with a hearty hello. Conversations are lighthearted as he asks people what they’re up to and gives a warm, hearty laugh as he jokes around.
Vincent started in August and says he loves interacting with his coworkers and meeting the new people who visit the reception desk every day.
“He’s doing so well and he really fits in,” Monica says, “Everyone I’ve come across has come back to me and complimented how great he’s doing.”
He found his job at ADEC through vocational rehabilitation and couldn’t believe how easy it was. Through vocational rehabilitation, individuals with disabilities work to discover what jobs they’re eligible for, what employment suits them best and ultimately find a job that makes them happy.
“Wow! If I had known about vocational rehabilitation before, I would have gone with it a long time ago,” Vincent says with a laugh.
The surgery to remove his tumor left a scar on his neck, but he doesn’t let it define him.
Instead, his charming and calm personality makes for a warm opening for anyone coming to ADEC.
With a job that’s a perfect fit and one heck of a story to tell, Vincent is happy where he’s at.
He’s cancer free and feeling lucky.