Cancer Can't Keep a Good Man Down

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Sgt. George Alderete has a strong core - physically and emotionally.

Alderete.jpgAn eight-year cancer survivor and 32-year veteran of the Houston Police Department, Alderete is a firm believer that family, faith and physical conditioning carried him through his cancer experience and today, those fundamentals are stronger than ever.

Alderete is one of more than 4,500 individuals at MD Anderson who have transitioned their annual follow-up visits and care to survivorship clinics. Though he no longer has a formal annual appointment with Christopher Wood, M.D., the surgeon who removed his kidney cancer, Alderete continues to return to the familiar surroundings of the Genitourinary Clinic and sees a team that monitors him for possible recurrence and late effects of treatment.  

Almost eight years ago, Alderete was experiencing fatigue and slowing times with his daily distance runs, symptoms and signs that were out of the ordinary for the active 43-year-old. An enthusiastic runner, athlete and softball coach in addition to being a devoted Catholic, family man and one of Houston's Finest, Alderete says the toughest part of his cancer diagnosis was telling his family.  

Confident in their support and love once sharing the news, Alderete forged ahead to prepare physically and emotionally for his surgery and recovery.  Already in great shape at the time of his diagnosis, Alderete added 300 sit-ups in the morning and 300 more in the evening to his exercise routine. He said he feels fortunate to have not needed chemotherapy or radiation.

"You don't know how much it means to hear yourself being called a 'survivor,'" says Alderete, who has an easy smile. "I know I was diagnosed with cancer for a reason, but I also know I survived for a reason. Every day, I try to live a life that reflects love, gratitude, hope and faith."

Today, the 51-year-old Alderete is special assistant to Houston Chief of Police Charles McClelland, who has been his close colleague for more than two decades. He also is husband to Frannie, who he calls his "best friend," and father to Stephanie and Jennifer, who are students at Texas A&M.   

Read more about Alderete's story and the survivorship program at MD Anderson
in the summer issue of Conquest magazine.  

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