Bob Earley: I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine
Published in
8 min readNov 15, 2021


I’d say my cancer would tell me, “Enjoy your life because every day counts.” This cancer changed me a lot. It taught me to live within myself. Life is fragile. People gotta quit complaining and worrying. You can get terrible news, but if you do the right thing, it will pass.

Cancer is a horrible and terrifying disease. Yet millions of people have beaten the odds and beat cancer. Authority Magazine started a new series called “I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It”. In this interview series, we are talking to cancer survivors to share their stories, in order to offer hope and provide strength to people who are being impacted by cancer today. As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bob Earley.

Bob Earley, 76, lives with his wife Sandy in Aurora, Ohio, just north of Akron. He’s a graduate of Kent State University, where he majored in marketing. Bob put that education to good use, becoming one of the region’s leading entrepreneurs in subsequent decades. An extremely active volunteer, his community service was recognized in 2009 when he was named Cuyahoga Falls Business Person of the Year. In 2010, his contributions to the area’s amateur sports led to his induction into the Northeast Ohio Summit County Baseball Hall of Fame. And in 2019, Bob’s volunteer work earned him the title of Health Care Hero from Crain’s Cleveland Business journal, which reported: “He is linked to Western Reserve Hospital by the care his mother received there before passing. Bob saw up-close how honest empathy and a dedicated effort to consider the ‘nonclinical’ needs of a patient and their family and friends, was so important to their total experience and often, the outcomes. Each day [he can be seen] ‘transforming’ patients and guests who arrive weary and anxious, bringing smiles and laughs to people who likely thought they were not going to smile or laugh that day.”

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! We really appreciate the courage it takes to publicly share your story. Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your background and your childhood backstory?

I grew up in a normal family, played sports, got married the first time at age 18, went to Kent State and became very entrepreneurial. I was drawn to the entertainment industry in particular, and began buying bars and restaurants, always on my own, as a solo investor. I also had a radio talk show on WNIR for ten years. I married my forever sweetheart in 2001, and I’ve lived in Ohio all my life.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I believe in karma — if you don’t give of yourself, you get nothing in return. My radio sign-off was always, “You should dedicate one hour, one day or one year to someone less fortunate than you and it will make you a more fortunate person.” I volunteer A LOT! I especially enjoy being a greeter at Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about surviving cancer. Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you found out that you had cancer? What was the scariest part of that event? What did you think was the worst thing that could happen to you?

My sister and father both had skin cancer, so when I noticed sores on my face, I asked a nurse friend at the hospital, “What does this look like to you?” She told me I better get it checked, and so I made an appointment with my general practitioner.

I’d been going to my regular doctor for years, and he’d told me, half joking I thought, “One of these days, you’re going to come in and hear and there’s something wrong with you.” That day finally arrived, three years ago. Looking at the sores on my nose, he said it definitely was cancer.

The scariest part was hearing the word — the Big C. I’m somewhat of a hypochondriac, so I was especially anxious — terrified, you might say. I did some quick research. Over five million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. annually, and while this type of cancer kills “only” around 2,000 people a year, a) I didn’t want to be one of THOSE, and b) I dreaded the thought of surgery on my face and the possibility of permanent disfigurement that could follow treatment. I thought about leaving it alone, but my doctor said that the cancer could grow deeper, into skin and bone, and spread to other parts of my body, with increasing risk of death. I had to treat it, but the idea of a scalpel horrified me.

How did you react in the short term?

I was rattled, but during one of my volunteer days at the hospital, I shared my concerns with another nurse and she told me about a local dermatologist who offered a non-surgical treatment as an alternative to Mohs surgery for skin cancer. Dr. Meyers was the only doctor in Ohio at the time who offered that new kind of treatment, called Image-Guided Superficial RadioTherapy, or Image Guided-SRT for short. I jumped at that news and went to see Dr. Meyers. He biopsied two areas on my nose and confirmed that I had two different types of cancer — basal cell and squamous cell.

After the dust settled, what coping mechanisms did you use? What did you do to cope physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

Well, just the fact that I could get a non-surgical treatment with a high probability of success put my mind at considerably more rest.

Is there a particular person you are grateful towards who helped you learn to cope and heal? Can you share a story about that?

Amy was my angel. She’s the radiotherapy technician who works for Dr. Meyers and she walked me through step by step how we would proceed. “I know you, the kind of person you are, trust me,” she said. She explained up front that treatment would involve around 20 visits, but there’d be no scalpel, no scarring, and chances were in the upper 90s percentage-wise that they’d get it all with no residual side effects. She would use a narrow beam like an x-ray to kill cancer cells on each visit, and I would see the progress through pictures on an iPad. That level of detail and her directness really helped set me at ease.

In my own cancer struggle, I sometimes used the idea of embodiment to help me cope. Let’s take a minute to look at cancer from an embodiment perspective. If your cancer had a message for you, what do you think it would want or say?

I’d say my cancer would tell me, “Enjoy your life because every day counts.” This cancer changed me a lot. It taught me to live within myself. Life is fragile. People gotta quit complaining and worrying. You can get terrible news, but if you do the right thing, it will pass.

What did you learn about yourself from this very difficult experience? How has cancer shaped your worldview? What has it taught you that you might never have considered before? Can you please explain with a story or example?

Nowadays, I don’t want to argue, take sides, get into things I cannot control. I just want to be with my family and friends and enjoy the moment.

How have you used your experience to bring goodness to the world?

I truly have made that commitment. I try to give more, volunteer more, try to make people happy. I’m a very public person. I reach out to people. Just recently, I encountered a man who thought he had serious health issues — I talked him into seeing a specialist and getting a colonoscopy. He had two surgeries and he’s in touch with me every day. I have 36,000 friends on Facebook (Rockin’ on the River), and my personal Facebook is maxed out. I try to instill positivity in all of them.

What are a few of the biggest misconceptions and myths out there about fighting cancer that you would like to dispel?

People need to appreciate that in the vast majority of cases, a cancer diagnosis is not like a death sentence. There are answers and a way out, but it’s also important that people — patients — get and stay proactive. You have to do the research, even if that means just asking questions of knowledgeable people. You can’t hide from symptoms, and especially not from a positive diagnosis. I used to do the former. I had “white coat disease” — I’m afraid of doctors. I volunteered at a hospital, but I was afraid to have physicals. I always feared the worst. My wife Sandy, over the last 3–4 years, had lumps on her scalp, and she was like me, afraid to go the doctor. Now she finally went, she learned she has basal cell carcinoma just like me, and she’s about to start her Image Guided-SRT treatment. She found the guts to deal with things, and now she’s on the road to being well.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experiences and knowledge, what advice would you give to others who have recently been diagnosed with cancer? What are your “5 Things You Need To Beat Cancer? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. First, get a second opinion.
  2. Once you’ve done that, trust your chosen doctor and go forward with treatment.
  3. Remain confident.
  4. Fight like hell.
  5. Don’t give up.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be?

For starters, dump social media — it’s not real life, it’s totally distracting, and it gets an awful lot just plain wrong. Better for you, and society, is to get interested, involved and intelligent. Educate yourself, and don’t accept social media nonsense as gospel. Engage with people. The world’s a beautiful place.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. :-)

Great question! At one time it would have been Mahatma Gandhi. I have great admiration for LeBron James. I’ve followed his career since he was nine years old. I’ve travelled all over to watch him play, and I’ve seen what an enormous contribution he’s made to Akron — funding schools, lifting kids’ life goals and mentoring so many youths. And, of course, I think nurses are god’s gift to humanity.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

My commercial entertainment venue is, and there’s lots of helpful patient information on the treatment that saved my life at

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!



Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC), Journalist, Best-selling Author, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor