Bill Farquhar on the field at a recent football game. Photo Credit: Mike Pritchard Photography

We first shared Bill Farquhar’s story with you in Feb. 2022. Bill was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020 after a routine doctor’s visit. Since then, he has received treatment from Quincy Medical Group (QMG). Throughout his treatment, he was cared for by QMG Radiation Oncologist Dr. Michael Fallon and QMG Urologist Dr. Matthew Knudson. On Sept. 28, 2022, he had a visit with Dr. Knudson where he got some good news. Bill tells his story below in his own words and shares how his journey inspired him to use his diagnosis for good. 

By: Bill Farquhar, QMG Patient

I’ll start with a quick recap of my journey to this point. In December of 2019, I went in as normal for my yearly physical, which had been delayed due to Covid protocols. The appointment went as expected nothing new or unusual until the week after Christmas when my doctor called and wanted me to come back in and run the blood work again. He didn’t like one of the numbers.

A few days later after the reworked blood sample, I received THE call, my PSA count was extremely high and most likely I had prostate cancer. After a short discussion I ask, “What is next? What do I need to do? and Where do I need to go?” Dr. Farr, even though not affiliated with QMG, recommended Dr. Knudson at QMG, in his words, “It is where I would go if it were me.”

After a couple of appointments with Dr. Knudson, the diagnosis was confirmed that it was cancer, even though I was prepared and assumed it was, it felt like someone hit me in the head with a brick.

Dr. Knudson went through all of the options with my wife, Lois, and me, then we decided together that radiation treatment was the direction we wanted to go. That decision was partly based on pride on my part, as I am an IHSA football and basketball official, and I didn’t feel comfortable going with the other options. I hoped that going the radiation route would allow me to continue not only working at my job, but also to continue to officiate with little to no interruptions.

On the Monday after Easter in 2020, I started the first of 30 radiation treatments, driving to Quincy five days a week for the next six weeks. Shortly after my journey began, I decided to take on this battle as a platform rather than a disease and get the word out to anyone that would listen — family, friends, other officials, and co-workers. The IHSA allowed me to add a short section to our yearly training about getting your PSA checked yearly. I’m not sure how many took it to heart, but I know in our local association nearly everyone has let me know they went and got checked, so my mission has worked.

Throughout my treatments the staff at QMG have become like family. Dr. Knudson and Jordyn and Cheyanne, Stacey, Nicole and Dr. Fallon at the Cancer Center are in my opinion the best in the business!

I believe faith and family are the keys to beating any situation, both my family at home, especially my wife Lois, and at work were completely behind me throughout this journey. My faith allowed me to accept that I had this disease and that I would kick its behind and come out better on the other side.

Throughout my journey, I am lucky to not have missed any days at work and have continued to officiate a full football and basketball schedule. I credit my officiating for keeping me in shape to be able to attack cancer head on and kick its [you know what]!! The brotherhood of officials is like a second family and have supported me the entire way.

Probably the hardest part of the entire journey was the day I had to explain to my 12-year-old granddaughter that I had cancer. We have had a special relationship since the day she was born and they ask if I wanted to hold her (dumb question). After admiring her a few minutes, I looked around, when we were the only two in the room, I looked down at her and said, “It’s me and you girl.” That has been our go-to line in any hard times. After our discussion about my cancer, she looked at me and said, “It’s you and me, Grandpa,” and I broke down and cried and hugged her so tight.

My message going forward is to get a full physical every year and have a full blood panel checked. I had no history or symptoms and would not have known without the blood work coming back with high numbers. This is a disease that can be easily beaten if caught soon enough and taken head on with the help of the specialists who are available in our area, especially QMG. I want to thank all the people at QMG that have made this an enjoyable journey. I don’t think it would have been such a smooth ride without all of your help. You are now part of our family and proud to have worked with all of you.

As every story has an end, mine as of today, September 28, 2022, I am officially a CANCER SURVIVOR thanks to the care I received at QMG.

-Bill Farquhar, Prostate Cancer Survivor