By Tony Wilbert, Wilbert News Strategies
ATLANTA (Feb. 4, 2010) – In dramatic testimony, developer John Dewberry this week shared with ULI members his initial response to his doctor telling him in July 2008 he had prostate cancer and only two years to live.
"I told my doctor, 'Don't you ever say that again,' " Dewberry, now 46, told members of ULI's Atlanta District Council. "I've lived 44 [years]. I'm getting 40 more." Tears were shed by both men that day.
Dewberry said his PSA of 330 was well above the normal of a man his age, which is 2 or under. He first shared his story with WSB-TV on New Year's Eve 2008.
Dewberry recalled delivering the news to his girlfriend, interior designer Cameron Schwabenton, shortly after receiving the prognosis. "I said, 'Babe, in August 2009, I will have kicked this son-of-a-bitch in the butt,' " Dewberry told the group, who gathered Wednesday at Sutherland's mock courtroom at Jamestown's 999 Peachtree tower. "In May of '09, I got the all clear."
Dewberry shared his incredibly personal story after disucssing the Seven Steps to Success, which he learned of when former Georgia Tech athletics director Homer Rice gave him a book by that title. The seventh step is "Expect it to Happen" Dewberry tied his cancer revelation back to the book by telling the audience, "I expected to beat cancer."
The first six steps are: Make a Commitment to a goal. Set a Target Date to reach that goal. Assemble the Ingredients needed to make it happen. Give, and never stop giving. Visualize Yourself Successful. Believe it Will Happen.
Minimizing mistakes also is critical, Dewberry said. To that end, Dewberry said he recently had breakfast with Atlanta real estate legend Tom Cousins, and the former Tech quarterback asked Cousins for some advice. ""I said, 'Mr. Cousins tell Dewberry where the land mines are … and how you almost went broke in 1974 and clawed your way back."
As far as his battle with cancer and people reaching goals, Dewberry urged those in attendance to. "Hold fast, fear not and press on."
"I always love the words from Tom Petty," Dewberry said. "You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down. – Not when you believe in something."