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Moffitt patient David posing with his family for his daughter's birthday and Chanukah celebration

By David Dauman, Patient Advisor,
Patient and Family Advisory Council

Candles are important to many religions and cultures. In my faith of Judaism, candles are a big part of the holiday Chanukah. This special holiday celebrates a heroic battle for religious freedom, highlighted by the miracle of a single day’s ration of oil lasting for eight days. Gifts are exchanged and candles are lit.

During December 2014, I was at Moffitt undergoing a second stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma.

I was surrounded by heroes. My unrelated donor and the couriers from Be The Match®, a nonprofit marrow registry, were heroes, as were the many Moffitt team members who cared for me during this trying time.

The biggest hero was my wife, Rona.

That month we celebrated my daughter's third birthday along with Chanukah for her and her four-year-old brother. Candles lit those dark days and nights for my family. Due to the isolation precautions for transplant patients, I could only see their joy via a tablet. I can certainly empathize with how recent patients and families must have felt during the visitor restrictions throughout the pandemic.

Every day for a month, my wife maintained our kids’ routines while battling two hours of traffic back and forth to see me. They never went without their mommy, and I never went without the sustaining gift of my wife’s touch. Her bravery of not folding from this daily burden while facing the real possibility of becoming a widow and single parent was beyond valiant.

With each passing Chanukah with my cancer in check, I think back to her heroism as I watch the candles burn and my kids grow. I think about each year’s gift of life and love as an annual bonus, as we were not sure how many more we could expect back then.

As we reach this year-end and holiday season, may I wish you a year of health, peace and light. And many hugs for and from your heroes.

Many caregivers often find themselves putting the well-being of the patient before their own. At Moffitt, we offer many services to help caregivers including the Family and Friends Support Group. To learn more visit our Support Group page or call 813-745-8407. To learn about Be The Match®, visit