Restaurateur’s Death Puts Focus on Disease
By Byron Wells
To Susan Anderson of Tempe, the death of Wendy's founder Dave Thomas hit close to home.
Anderson, 64, never met Thomas - who founded the fast-food chain in 1969
and became its
spokesman in more than 800 commercials - but she knew the disease he was diagnosed
with 10 years ago.
"I thought it was too soon, he was only 69," said Anderson, who is living
with carcinoid cancer,
the same affliction Thomas died from on Tuesday. "1 hope he was getting aggressive treatment. "
It is possible to live a full and active life even with carcinoid cancer, said Anderson, who was
diagnosed in 1995. "A lot of it's the mental attitude," she said.
Carcinoid is a slow-growing cancer
that can be cured as long as all traces of it are removed,
according to the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation.
Thomas had a carcinoid cancer tumor on
his liver for about a decade, according to
In memory of Thomas, Wendy's restaurants across the East Valley and the
nation will begin
flying flags at half- staff, said Wendy's International spokesman Denny Lynch.
The man known for his commercials projecting a down-to-earth "regular person"
uncomfortable with the celebrity image the ads created, but soon used the notoriety to advance
his cause for adopted children, Lynch said.
In 1992, Thomas founded the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which
finds homes for
"He was never comfortable with the personality image," Lynch said. "He
was more comfortable
with an apron on and behind the grill."
But it was that TV persona that captivated the public, said Bob Caltabiano,
director of area
operations for Wendy's International in Tempe.
"Whenever he would go into one of his restaurants, he was like a celebrity,"
who accompanied Thomas on some of his restaurant visits.
Anderson, who has under- gone surgery and is taking several medications
for her disease,
has since become an advocate for carcinoid cancer awareness.
In November, a major 'drug company invited her to New York City to participate
in a patient
support advisory board, and Anderson is also on the board of directors for an association aptly
named Southern California Carcinoid Fighters.
For more information on carcinoid cancer or to read Anderson's story,
go to http://home.att.net/~s.l.anderson/ on the Internet.
Tribune, Friday January 18, 2002
Death helped spotlight carcinoid cancer
Thank you for the fine article that Bryon Wells wrote, "Restaurateur's
death puts focus on disease,"
Jan. 9. It is not just that he spoke with me, but he presented accurately that Dave Thomas had
carcinoid cancer. Most news organizations and reporters have been careless. They heard
"cancer" and "liver" and assumed liver cancers are all alike. Not so!
Most news organizations did not check the corporate Web page of Wendy's,
where right at the
start of the article it states, "Mr. Thomas had a carcinoid tumor, which is a slow growing cancer..."
Actually, he had carcinoid cancer that had metastasized to his liver. This is completely different.
Many of us live many years and multiple decades with carcinoid.
Carcinoid has been very difficult to
diagnose as most doctors do not think of it. There are some
simple, non-invasive blood and urine tests that can direct a physician to investigate further.
I appreciate listing my Web site devoted to carcinoid
cancer and how to live a very full and active
life whi1e dealing with carcinoid at http://home.att.net/~s.l.anderson on the Internet
Having searched for years for the cause of stomach pain (from 1987 unt11
diagnosis in May 1995)
I am a firm believer in getting additional information to the public for their education.
Susan L. Anderson
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