Patient Story

Vidalia resident and cancer patient repays doctor with hometown’s famous crop

Dale Kramer and wife

To me, it spoke volumes about who he was as a doctor, and a person.

At 71 years of age, Dale Kramer knows his body, and he knew something wasn’t right when he noticed a strange spot on the top of his head. Even after being cleared of any cancer diagnosis in an initial consultation, Kramer still felt something was off.

Upon seeking a second opinion from another doctor, his worst fears were confirmed. Dale was diagnosed with stage three melanoma, an advanced form of skin cancer that spreads to the body’s lymph nodes.

Dale’s local dermatologist, Dr. Peterson, recommended he receive treatment from Dr. Jonathan Lee at Northside Hospital Atlanta’s Melanoma & Sarcoma Specialists of Georgia. For Dale, it was a choice he found difficult to consider. Although he lived in Atlanta from 1966 to 2006, he was born and raised in Vidalia. After leaving the big city, he wanted to remain where his roots were—back in his hometown.

But Dr. Peterson persisted, and urged Dale to undergo treatment with Dr. Lee. As difficult as it seemed, Dale knew he couldn’t turn this opportunity down. Dale finally made the trek 200 miles north to Dr. Lee’s offices at Northside Hospital Atlanta for treatment. The operation was tough, and so was the long drive home.

But for Dale’s post-op appointment, Dr. Lee himself made the drive south to “The Sweet Onion City” of Vidalia, Georgia. For Dale, this simple gesture by Dr. Lee meant the world to him. During his subsequent visit to Atlanta, Dale repaid Dr. Lee and his staff with some of his local fare- sweet, home-grown Vidalia onions.

*The health story shared here may portray atypical results of survival for this type of cancer, given its severity and stage. Atypical results are considered surviving a cancer that has less than a 50 percent five-year survival rate. Patients should consult an expert to discuss specific treatment plans and the possible outcomes before making medical decisions.

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