TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Anyone who knows Drew Garabo knows how he lives his life with one goal in mind. Be authentic.
The longtime Tampa Bay area radio talk show host is an open book, known for sharing his personal struggles and triumphs on his wildly popular show heard daily on 102.5 – The Bone.
On Wednesday, in the final hour of the show, listeners were deeply moved as Garabo’s authenticity came through, once again, in an even more powerful and organic way.
The candid host they know and love shared with them something no one could have ever predicted, least of all Garabo himself. He has stage two testicular cancer.
In typical Garabo form, he was open, honest and eloquently humorous as he bared his soul and the details of his diagnosis.
“Honestly, if I can help anybody out there get checked out before finding something out, maybe feel less alone, that’s a great purpose to have,” he told 8 On Your Side.
The 52-year-old father said it all boils down to this.
“Guys out there, get checked. Don’t beat around the bush, don’t delay it. Give yourself peace of mind and go get checked,” he urged. “It could literally save your life and I hope it does.”
The well-known host says he went public with his diagnosis for one reason.
He was inspired by Florida’s First Lady Casey DeSantis who made public her own battle with breast cancer on Monday, announcing her recent diagnosis.
“I will tell you, reading that article on wfla.com, it was immeasurably helpful to me and inspirational for me to share my story,” he explained. “It was your story online that made me share my story.”
Garago said after he watched the story of Casey DeSantis and her bravery in sharing her diagnosis, he knew exactly what he wanted to do.
“It illuminated like a 50-watt lightbulb above my head, where I said, she’s saving lives by making her diagnosis public, so why am I so uncomfortable? What am I so scared of? I mean, if I can help one dude out there, why not?”
He added, “Casey DeSantis goes forward, right? I think, well that’s a beautiful thing, a very brave thing she did. And, then I read this wonderful story on wfla.com, where I visit every day, and I read this story from a young lady named Melanie Michael who I adore, and this story about a Moffitt doctor says with Casey going forward, she can save lives.”
Garabo wanted to follow the first lady’s lead, hoping his story may inspire others in the way Casey DeSantis did for him.
Drew Garabo’s cancer battle actually began many years ago, unbeknownst to him.
A lump was detected in his early twenties, but doctors declared it benign.
Then, a month ago, things changed. Dramatically.
“The lump gradually increased in size,” he shared. “Within the past couple of months, the swelling became significant. There was definitely a lump, something was not right. That’s what I want to encourage guys out there to look out for. Don’t ignore the feeling that something’s not right with your body.”
After a successful surgery, Garabo now begins chemotherapy on Monday. In sharing his story, he says he’s hoping to share life.
“If something’s not right, even if you think it’s probably nothing, you’re right. It’s probably nothing,” he said. “Get it off your shoulders. get the weight off your shoulders, go get that weight off of you. Or, at the very least, make you sleep better tonight.”
He says he is beyond grateful for all the support he’s received from his family, friends, colleagues and listeners and hopes to be better by Christmas.
He hopes his story will inspire others to seek medical treatment if they’re unsure about their health, essentially paying it forward.