Ga. Man Shaves Head to Support Wife, Finds His Own Cancer

ABC News Blogs

View gallery


(Photo Courtesy: Dolly Stringer)

When Dolly Stringer was diagnosed with breast cancer in April, she decided to take control and shave her head before she began chemotherapy.

Now, the Moultrie, Ga., woman believes she got cancer for a reason: to save her husband's life.

To show solidarity with Stringer, her husband, Bud, decided to shave his head. His family members were curious about the black patch on his newly-shaved pate.

"And I said 'you know, I'm sure that's a birthmark,' but I didn't realize I had one so I called my mom and she said 'no, it's not a birthmark, you didn't have one,'" Bud Stringer told ABC News in an interview on Monday.

He decided it was a mole, but a biopsy proved him wrong: it was stage three malignant melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer.

RELATED: Cancer survivor's wife makes unusual donation to Connecticut hospital

The Stringers, who have a son who's 12 and another who's 10, were stunned. They had never had any health problems before.

View gallery


(Photo Courtesy: Dolly Stringer)

"I was just really in shock and Bud was, too … and I was just devastated, because it's one thing to have it yourself, that I could handle, but to know that Bud was going to have to go through what I was going through, and worse?" Dolly, 47, said.

Dolly had had several surgeries since her stage three breast cancer diagnosis, and completed her eighth - and final round - of chemotherapy last week. She is preparing to start six and a half weeks of radiation treatment.

Bud's treatment will be more intense. Since his cancer is so aggressive, his treatment will have to be as well. Diagnosed in August, he's already had two extensive surgeries, and is preparing to start a year of chemotherapy. Bud said he'll have chemotherapy five days a week for the first month, and will do self-injections of chemo for 11 months after that.

Despite their troubles, the two - married for nearly 20 years - are upbeat.

"The surgeons down at Moffitt (Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.), they all feel very positive about the eventual outcome, that it will be very good," Bud said.

Dolly's prognosis is also good. She said her doctor told her she had a "garden-variety" type of cancer. She believes her illness has a greater purpose.

"I now know that I had to have that to save Bud's life, because he would have been - the doctor told me that I would have been burying him probably by Christmas" if the melanoma hadn't been diagnosed and treated, she said, adding, "We just have so, so much to be thankful for."

Bud, 48, agreed.

"I'm not a Bible-thumper, I am a Christian, but I really feel like God's hand shaved my head. I really do … If Dolly had not lost her hair - or chosen to shave her head - I never would have found this … ," he said.

Dolly said when Bud was initially diagnosed she grew very worried. He runs a small business, Rose City Glass in Thomasville, Ga., and since she was sick, he was the primary breadwinner for the family. Dolly is a therapist for an addiction hospital, and although she has health insurance through her job, she has had to work less because of her treatment.

But the Stringers were not without support.

After Bud's diagnosis, "People started coming out of the woodwork," Dolly said.

Those supporters have done the couple's lawn, helped clothe their children, and even sent food for their dogs.

Over the weekend, members of the pair's church organized a 5K run, expecting to raise about $5,000. They took in more than $40,000, Dolly said. The church, First Presbyterian of Moultrie, continues to accept donations for the Stringers.

The generosity has been overwhelming, and Dolly said it has brought her some peace.

"I could see very quickly that our needs were going to be provided for … We're going to be okay, the children are going to be okay," she said. "It's just been amazing. I mean every day we just we just find ourselves going 'thank you,' and it just doesn't feel like enough."

The Stringers want to raise awareness about cancer, particularly about melanoma. Prior to his diagnosis, Bud's head had been itching, Dolly said. She checked his head, but he had very dark hair, so she didn't see anything, she said.

"What we love … is that people are saying 'I went and got a mammogram because of this and 'I went to get a head-to-toe check with my dermatologist.'

"We even had a man that shaved his head just because he wanted to make sure," she said.

View Comments (3441)

Recommended for You

  • Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Says Controversial 'Religious Freedom' Law Won't Change

    When ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked Pence if the law allowed businesses like florists to refuse to work with gay or lesbian weddings, as critics have said, the governor said the situation has more to do with whether the government is involved. "The question here is if there is a government…

    Good Morning America
  • Sorority Woman Reported Missing at University of Minnesota

    Authorities in Minneapolis are searching for a missing University of Minnesota student. Jennifer Houle was last seen Friday at a bar in the Dinkytown area of Minneapolis between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., the Minneapolis Police Department said. Houle, 22, is a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.

    Good Morning America
  • Philadelphia Groom Celebrates Bachelor Party With Cross-Country 'Crasher'

    "Yesterday was fantastic," Jeff Minetti told ABC News today. "It went great," the party crasher, Joey DiJulio, agreed. It all started when a mistake by Minetti, a 34-year-old real estate agent in Philadelphia, included DiJulio, of Burien, Washington, on a group email chain to plan Minetti's…

    Good Morning America
  • Angelina Jolie Makes First Post-Surgery Appearance

    Last week, Jolie revealed in a New York Times op-ed her decision to have a preventative surgery that removed her ovaries and Fallopian tubes after doctors discovered she tested positive for signs of early ovarian cancer. Her mother died from the same type of cancer in 2007.

    Good Morning America
  • 5 Rights You Lose Whenever You Board a Plane

    That's what got a college kid booted from a Southwest flight a few days ago. Its temporary suspension and loss of other rights is due to safety concerns, plus concerns about passengers getting along on today's packed planes. There it is, in black and white, in Southwest's contract of carriage:…

    Good Morning America
  • 7 Injured, 3 Critically, in Panama City Beach Spring Break Shooting

    Three college students on spring break who were among seven people wounded in a shooting early Saturday at a home in Panama City Beach, Florida were "innocent victims," police said. Police arrested the shooting suspect, David Jamichael Daniels, 22, of Mobile, Alabama, and charged him with seven…

    Good Morning America
  • How a Federal Data Breach Law Could Actually Hurt Some Consumers

    An Even Bigger Problem Than Identity Theft This Holiday Shopping Season

    Good Morning America
  • Germanwings Crash Co-Pilot Seemed Like a 'Normal Guy,' Fellow Pilot Says

    French prosecutors have said co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately slammed the passenger plane into a mountain on Tuesday. Authorities have since said he hid evidence of an illness from his employers, including a sick note that was found torn up inside his apartment in Dusseldorf dated from the day…

    Good Morning America
  • Seattle Mayor Prohibits City Employees From Traveling to Indiana

    The mayor of Seattle today prohibited municipal employees from traveling to Indiana on city funds, as the backlash spread against the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's decision comes in response to the law signed Thursday by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence that allows…

    Good Morning America
  • Decorated Boston Police Officer in Coma After 'Unprovoked' Shooting

    A police officer decorated for his role in the Boston Marathon bombing remains in critical condition in a medically induced coma after he was shot in the face during a traffic stop, the city's police commissioner said today. Boston Police Commissioner William Evans called the shooting of Officer…

    Good Morning America
  • British Police Taser Knife-Wielding Robber in Harrowing Surveillance Video

    Harrowing surveillance video shows police tasering a knife-wielding man as he tried to rob a British supermarket.Wiltshire police released the video Friday, the same day they said James Lewis was sentenced to three years in prison. Police said he pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery on…

    Good Morning America
  • James Bond Film 'Spectre' Releases Teaser Trailer

    The teaser trailer for "Spectre," the next installment in the James Bond series, picks up right where the last film left off. The trailer opens with the famed 007, played for the fourth time by Daniel Craig, learning some "personal effects" recovered from his ruined family estate and childhood…

    Good Morning America
  • See This, Skip That: Sacramento

    As California’s capital, Sacramento is a hubbub of political activity. Here are some of the many neat things to do and see in what has become California’s fifth-largest city. Skip the Rental Car, Take a Bike The lawmakers in this town recently passed the 3-foot passing law in California,…

    Good Morning America
  • Amanda Knox 'Grateful' Conviction Overturned

    Italy's highest court decided today to overturn Amanda Knox's reconviction in connection with her roommate's slaying, meaning that she will not be sent back to prison. Speaking to reporters in Seattle, Knox said she was still processing the court's decision.

    Good Morning America
  • 5 Things to Know About Taylor Swift's Rumored New Beau Calvin Harris

    Taylor Swift has been spending time with producer Calvin Harris recently, leading some to speculate as to whether they're dating. His stage name may be Calvin Harris, but the 31-year-old deejay was born Adam Richard Wiles in Scotland.

    Good Morning America
  • Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz Never Submitted Sick Note, Airline Says

    Germanwings said in a statement today that they never received a sick note for co-pilot Andreas Lubitz that the senior prosecutor in Dusseldorf announced they had found torn up in his apartment. Get real-time updates as this story unfolds.

    Good Morning America
  • Liz Rose: Writer of Little Big Town's 'Girl Crush' Says Negativity 'Just From Few Places'

    For Liz Rose, one of the writers of Little Big Town's "Girl Crush," she's only focused on the positive that's come from her hit song. An Idaho radio station's morning show reportedly pulled "Girl Crush" -- even though it's near the top of the iTunes charts -- because of complaints over the…

    Good Morning America