Birmingham resident Chris Pero is not just a husband, father and top realtor in the community. He’s also a cancer survivor whose outlook on life is filled with positive thinking and gratitude. Here, learn more about this local leader who’s transformed a scary diagnosis into an opportunity for growth.
KE: When were you diagnosed with lymphoma?
CP: I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October 2019 and quickly started my first of four chemo treatments on Halloween that year. The timing was rather perfect because I finished my treatments and radiation by February of 2020, right before the pandemic shutdown started. This actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me because it gave me the chance to heal at home and get better during the pandemic.
KE: Tell us a little about becoming the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year?
CP: Man and Woman of the Year is philanthropic competition to support blood cancer research among a group of motivated and dedicated individuals in communities across the United States. The man and woman who have raised the most funds during the 10-week campaign are awarded the prestigious title of Man or Woman of the Year in their community. It’s really a great way to give back and in the end is really about the money raised for the foundation for research and fighting to find a cure. [To contribute, visit pages.lls.org/mwoy/mi/detroit22/chrispero.]
KE: How do you think this experience has affected your outlook and perspective on life?
CE: I’ve definitely become much more conscious about living a cleaner life and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. I eat better, I’ve cut out alcohol completely and I exercise daily. The worst part about getting cancer was having to tell my three children, who are now 19, 17 and 13. The reality is scary and being a father is so important to me. This whole experience has really given me a different perspective on all my relationships and brought me so much closer to my wife and kids. I have come to a place in my life where I am grateful about going through it and I’ve learned that sometimes when a bad thing happens it can turn into a blessing. Essentially, it's all about our perspective and the way we think. Every trauma is a new step towards growth.