Don’t Give Up on Testicular Cancer

What Happens when the Chemo Stops Working - A Testicular Cancer Survivor Explains

January 04, 2023 The Max Mallory Foundation - Joyce Lofstrom host Season 3 Episode 1
What Happens when the Chemo Stops Working - A Testicular Cancer Survivor Explains
Don’t Give Up on Testicular Cancer
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Don’t Give Up on Testicular Cancer
What Happens when the Chemo Stops Working - A Testicular Cancer Survivor Explains
Jan 04, 2023 Season 3 Episode 1
The Max Mallory Foundation - Joyce Lofstrom host

In 2019 at age 39, Chris Smith, a father of three boys, learned he had advanced testicular cancer. He started treatment, and then, with only three sessions left, his blood markers increased. The chemo had stopped working. 

Chris moved ahead with advanced treatment, including high-dose chemo and a stem cell transplant. It worked.

In 2023, he continues to give back to other cancer patients near Asheville, North Carolina.  He visits the hospital where he had treatment twice a month and delivers warm blankets and snacks to cancer patients. As a successful real estate entrepreneur, Chris owns Modern Mountain Real Estate and hosts an annual golf tournament that his coworkers started during his treatment. All proceeds go to cancer patients.

Listen as Chris shares his story of survival in this episode of Don't Give Up on Testicular Cancer from the Max Mallory Foundation.  

Send us a Text Message.

Support the Show.

Find us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Linkedin.

If you can please support our nonprofit through Patreon.

Show Notes Transcript

In 2019 at age 39, Chris Smith, a father of three boys, learned he had advanced testicular cancer. He started treatment, and then, with only three sessions left, his blood markers increased. The chemo had stopped working. 

Chris moved ahead with advanced treatment, including high-dose chemo and a stem cell transplant. It worked.

In 2023, he continues to give back to other cancer patients near Asheville, North Carolina.  He visits the hospital where he had treatment twice a month and delivers warm blankets and snacks to cancer patients. As a successful real estate entrepreneur, Chris owns Modern Mountain Real Estate and hosts an annual golf tournament that his coworkers started during his treatment. All proceeds go to cancer patients.

Listen as Chris shares his story of survival in this episode of Don't Give Up on Testicular Cancer from the Max Mallory Foundation.  

Send us a Text Message.

Support the Show.

Find us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Linkedin.

If you can please support our nonprofit through Patreon.

Transcript – What Happens When the Chemo Stops Working - 

A Testicular Cancer Survivor Explains

Chris Smith – Season 3, Episode 1 (January 2023)


[00:00:00] INTRO: 

Welcome to Don't Give Up on Testicular Cancer, a podcast where testicular cancer survivors, caregivers, and others who have navigated the cancer journey, share their stories. The podcast comes to you from the Max Mallory Foundation, a nonprofit family foundation focused on educating about testicular cancer in honor and in memory of Max Mallory, who died in 2016 at the young age of 22 from testicular cancer. 

Had he survived, Max wanted to help young adults with cancer. This podcast helps meet that goal. Here now is your host, Joyce Lofstrom, Max's mom and a young adult cancer survivor.

[00:00:52] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Hi, this is Joyce, and with me today is Chris Smith, who is a native of Lexington, Kentucky. He moved to North Carolina when he was a sophomore in high school. Now, he lives close to Asheville and in a state with more than 65,000 people with cancer, according to estimates from the American Cancer Society.

In 2019, this father of three learned he had advanced testicular cancer at age 39. 

He survived after 24 sessions of chemotherapy, followed by high-dose chemo and a stem cell transplant, which he will tell us about as we get going in our podcast. He helps others who are navigating cancer with visits twice a month to Pardee Hospital, where he received treatment in Hendersonville, North Carolina. He talks with patients and delivers snacks and warm blankets to them.

His reassuring presence has made a massive difference to the people he visits. He is a successful real estate entrepreneur and owns Modern Mountain Real Estate. He will also be giving back to testicular cancer with a golf tournament that his company has sponsored for the last three years. All the proceeds of that event will go to benefit cancer patients. 

So, Chris, thanks for being here.

[00:02:03] Chris Smith: 

Oh, you're welcome, Joyce. Thanks for inviting me on. 

[00:02:06] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Well, I always begin by asking my guests to just tell us a little bit about their story with testicular cancer. So why don't you begin and what happened with you and anything you want to share with us?

[00:02:19] Chris Smith: 

Yeah, kind of really started in about January of 2019. I started noticing some differences in my body. I'm a pretty active individual, work out a lot, play basketball. I like to, like to be on the go. And I just noticed within very short timeframe that my energy was starting to go down.

It kind of progressed over a few months. So, in January, I noticed a lump on my testicle and actually reached out to my urologist about it. And he told me that I was probably feeling my vasectomy that I had done and kind of told me not to worry about it. And so, I did and not worry about it.

And then a few months later, these symptoms kind of started really progressing where, within a two-week period, I noticed that whatever I was lifting, I was struggling. I had burning pain down in my testicle region. My lower back was really hurting.

My appetite started to decrease. I felt hungry. I'd started eating; then I couldn't eat. Just all things that just did not add up. So, I got on the computer, and I started doing a little Google search And I came across testicular cancer. And I had 15 symptoms that they listed off, and I felt like I checked 12 of them.


Joyce Lofstrom: Oh boy. 

[00:03:53] Chris Smith: 

And so, then I called a urologist again. And this time, I called them on; it was a Wednesday. And I said, look, I need to come in; something's not right. I'm going to get in there. So, I got in the next day on Thursday and walked in, and I told him. I was like, hey, I think I got testicular cancer.

And again, he was like, Nah, it's probably, an infected tube or something like that. But here we'll draw some blood and, and we'll see what's going on. Well, it was Thursday. By Wednesday. I was in surgery to remove my testicle and to put a stent in my left kidney. 

Because I had a tumor on the outside of my kidney that was about the size of a softball, and it was shutting my kidney down. And that's, that's where that lower back pain was coming from. 

So, from that surgery, I met with my oncologist within a handful of days - Dr. Anthony at Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville. Love that man. 

So anyway, sorry. So, I met with him, and he told me, told me what I had. So, pretty advanced stage 3C, I think, is what they called it. It already progressed to my lungs. I had it on in both lungs. I had that tumor on my kidney.

Thankfully it hadn't spread to my brain yet. But he told me, he said, Chris, I'm not going to beat around the bush. The treatment for testicular cancer is, it's a rough one. The combination of drugs is, is a hard one. It's going to be the hardest thing you've ever done.

But he said you are in probably the best shape out of any patient I've ever, ever had in here. He said, so if anybody can take it, then I feel like you can. And I had my one night of feeling sorry for myself and got my tears out. Then the next day, I just switched my mind.

[00:06:09] Chris Smith: 

And I became just a battle at that point, one that I felt like I could win. And I began the treatment there, my numbers were, were starting to go down. And everything seemed to be working. 

I had three more treatments to go then all of a sudden, my numbers spiked back up. And that's when they chose to cease the treatment. At that point, my wife had already found Dr. Einhorn in Indiana, which, you all know, kind of the godfather of testicular cancer. So, we had already kind of initiated the conversation with him. And then, once my numbers spiked back up, we reached out to him and told him what was going on. He asked if I could come up there and visit him.

Chris Smith: 

So, I did. They ran me through a bunch of blood work, and then he came in and sat down with me. He told me what the next step would be, which included the stem cell transplant and the high-dose chemo. But it's funny, at the beginning of this year, 2019. The newly elected president had removed the penalty for not having health insurance.

[00:07:31] Chris Smith: 

I had gone to my regular doctor at the end of 2018, and he was like, ah, you're healthy as a horse. I'll see you in a few years. So, I dropped my insurance because I was like, ah,

[00:07:43] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Oh, Chris. 

[00:07:44] Chris Smith: 

I could save a couple hundred dollars a month here. And it was silly but not like a need.

But at the same time, I was. Why? Well, I do it right. And so, I went through all this initial stuff without having any insurance. 

And when I went up there, this is in October, they told me. They were like, look; we got to get you back on insurance. Otherwise, you'll have to give us a deposit of a hundred thousand dollars even to get this going.

And, so I did, thankfully, with what President Obama had done, and I couldn't be denied. So, I got back on the insurance, got back on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and got a really good plan. And Indiana was absolutely amazing as far as helping to submit what was needed to them.

I had to go up in January and do a five-round treatment. I think it was like B-O-L-P, I think it's what Dr. Einhorn called it. And it was like a combination of like three, and it was just to kind of slow things down. So, I went there in January, and they would administer every 20 hours.

They would start chemo, and the round would take three hours to get in. So really, it was kind of like every 17 hours, you were getting hooked right back up. So, I took five of those and then came home because it took about another month or so, about two months, for them to get everything straightened out with Blue Cross and Blue Shield and get, get me lined up well. 

When the week arrives for me to go up there, well, we got this thing called the Coronavirus that just shut our country down. And I literally checked into the hospital the day that everything just boom, froze, right? And which meant now, no guests. I had buddies who were going to come and see me and family. And so, that wasn't allowed. So now, you get to go do all this by yourself. 

So, I went there and did the stem cell, and then went back the next day. Took a high dose, and I was there for two weeks, and I got a week’s break. I had to stay in Indianapolis.

[00:10:10] Chris Smith: 

My wife was able to come up, and we just stayed in a hotel and, ordered takeout, walked around downtown Indianapolis because it was a ghost town.

The hardest one was, and the first round was the hardest one. I was going back in for that second round. You kind of get a taste of freedom and what’s in store for you. And so then,

Chris Smith:

I had to go back in. And that second cycle was harder just because I was ready to come home.

So, either way, I got through all that, and everything seemed, seemed to work. My numbers were all down, and then I went back to Indiana. I got to come home for a month and went back, and then they, I did a nine-and-a-half hour surgery.

[00:10:56] Chris Smith: 

They took my kidney out, and scraped my lymph nodes, and then, they removed 12 tumors off my right lung all in one surgery. 

[00:11:04] Joyce Lofstrom: 


[00:11:05] Chris Smith: 

And then, yeah, I spent, it's about five, six days in the hospital. He told me the only way I could get out is if I could walk around the floor I was on twice.

So. once they told me that, I committed to start walking and get out of there. And my wife's uncle, he means a lot to me. He drove from Arizona to Indianapolis to pick me up because I could not fly. I just, I just hurt too much and couldn't sit up that long. He had a SUV, put a little blow-up mattress in the back for me, and drove me all the way down to Asheville. 

And it was a little rough nine-hour ride but I got home, and then the process of repairing began.

It was one of those things where you set goals. The first goal was just to walk to the end of my driveway, and then it was to walk to my neighbor's mailbox. And I just kept looking at the next mailbox, the next mailbox, then the next mailbox until I could get down the street and back.

[00:12:17] Chris Smith: 

And. I've been blessed and fortunate enough to be able to get back to where…I'm not what I used to be, but I, I'm okay with that. I just played basketball today, or somebody's at the gym. I'm back to hiking with my dog and with my wife and living a normal life except for every few months when, like Monday, it’s my yearly CT scan. I still have to go do blood work every two months. And every few months I get scared to death.

[00:12:56] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Yeah, no, I understand that too. 

[00:12:59] Chris Smith: 

It’s one of those things where you've heard, and you've read about it coming back and relapsing. And you're not really through it until you get to that five-year mark. And even then,

I don't think I'll not be scared when it's time to go. That's it.

[00:13:17] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Well, gosh, I have a couple of questions. So, from the time, it sounds like you noticed in January of 2019 the pain and so forth, and then you waited, you waited and went back and so, and then it sounds like you went to Indiana in October for the first time.

[00:13:35] Chris Smith: 


[00:13:36] Joyce Lofstrom: 

I'm just trying to get, so it was like January to when, when you first went back to that urologist to find out. 

[00:13:43] Chris Smith: 

Yeah, so January is when I really kind of felt it and it really only took about another, gosh, it was like maybe the latter part of February. I mean, it took about another six weeks where I mean, just pain. I'm the kind. I go to yoga once a week, and I was going to get massages on my back. I was like - something just is not right and just was not adding up. And then it 

was the difference when I used to do bench pressing and stuff like that. But, literally within a two-week period, what I was doing 12 times, I was only able to do four times. 

[00:14:29] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Oh wow. 

[00:14:30] Chris Smith: 

And that’s why I’m something is going wrong inside my body here.

[00:14:34] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Well, the reason I asked, you have to be your own advocate, and it sounds like you did that, which is great. And listen to your body, and that's the thing I've learned about this disease and talking to so many men and kind of what would happen with Max. But it progresses quickly, and I mean, cancer does, I guess, in general, but I mean, it's if you think something's wrong like you did, you have to really go check it out.

So that's wonderful that you did. And the whole thing with Covid and that timing for the high-dose chemo. It's an involved, long process, that high dose chemo. So, I applaud you for - you had no choice. You had to go through it alone. But I mean that’s hard, Chris. I mean, geez.

[00:15:22] Chris Smith: 

It was, you know. But I wasn't the only one on that hall. I definitely spoke to a few other people there who were going through the same thing or not the same exact thing. But, they had those same feelings, and I kind of created a little bit of a bond with some of these people as we're all kind of in the same boat together.

I was not the kind to eat the hospital food. I had Whole Foods delivering me food, and I had pretty much a pantry going on in my room. Even with the doctor, he walked in one time. It was like, holy cow. And, but of course, you get to a point where you can't even eat that. Nothing tastes good.

[00:16:07] Chris Smith: 

And so, I was giving food away to some other people and some other guys there and stuff like that. And so yeah, I mean, it was, it was certainly tough. It was not easy to do it.

[00:16:20] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Yeah. You mentioned that your wife had been researching and found Dr. Einhorn at Indiana. Talk a little bit about the support that you received from your family. And your uncle came and got you, or your wife's uncle. I mean. I think that's so important for people to hear and know that’s an important part of recovery. 

[00:16:42] Chris Smith: 

Oh, I mean, it was essential. 

I was fortunate enough to where I do work for myself but I still, but I still tried to work. I mean, I was meeting clients. Obviously, on some days, I was able to do more than others. But you mentioned the golf tournament; it actually started on my behalf without me knowing. These people put it together for me.

Completely surprised me. And I had friends who would bring food over and family stopping through, and it was essential. My ex-wife, she was just there for one of my first treatments and so I mean, to have that, to have my wife around and dad, her mom would stop in, my mom would stop in, my boys while I'm laid up on the couch and to sit with me.

[00:17:32] Chris Smith: 

One of my best friends, who was living in Virginia Beach, came down for some of my first treatments just to sit there for a week and be with me. But it is to feel that love. It's also part of what drives you to fight and drives you not to give up is seeing all of these people and getting the kind messages and stuff of that nature just reinforces your place in the world and wanting to be here still.

[00:18:10] Joyce Lofstrom: 

I know the article I read in the news report with your local news said that the doctors told you, you had a 20% chance of survival, but your response back, which was really good, is 20% is better than zero. So, to me, that says a lot about your attitude, your positive approach to all of this.


[00:18:29] Chris Smith: 

That was Dr. Einhorn when I went up there in October. I didn't tell anybody that, actually. My wife heard it, which. I wish she hadn't because if she hadn't been sitting here, I wouldn't have told her either. But I didn't tell my boys. I've got three boys. I didn't tell them. I didn't tell anybody.

I asked her not to tell anybody either. Because not everybody can take that approach. Everybody will. You’ll get people who, instead, will look at you. Sympathy, and I didn't want that. I'd rather people look at me as and gain some strength or some sort of realization that kind of where you're at in life might not be that bad after all. Know what I mean, right? 

[00:19:14] Joyce Lofstrom: 


[00:19:15] Chris Smith: 

I didn't want, I didn't want the pity party. Always kind of been a believer in mind over matter. I believe that if you set your mind on the right path and keep a positive attitude, good things will come.

It's not to say that you're not going to work hard to get there. But I've always been a believer that if you keep your mind in the right place. I was raised in the church by my grandmother when I was younger and certainly strayed away from the path over the course of my life.

But this, this experience certainly brought me back closer to my faith and forced me to have, to have a little look in the mirror and, and kind of think about how I was [living and maybe I wasn't quite fully appreciating all the little things in life and change that for me.

I mean, back to appreciate my sunrise and the sunset, enjoy the fog as it rolls through the mountains, just every little thing that you kind of start to glaze over as you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. You are now seeing a different light again.

[00:20:28] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Yep. I agree with that a hundred percent. It's living in the moment, and I've always found that hard to do, but I've also noticed things you take for granted that are there every day. Like when I walk my dogs, the trees and the color and, and things you don't really notice until you start to think about it. So, I understand that.

What do you think was your biggest challenge with the cancer diagnosis and the treatment? The whole process? 

[00:20:57] Chris Smith: 

Being forced to not do anything. I mean it took away…

I'm a member of the Y M C A. We play at, I'm now over 35, we play in what's called the Legends Basketball League, where it's just a good group of men who are 35 and up playing court basketball for some cardio.

I missed that. Go and do things with my boys, I missed. We'll play paintball or go to a movie or whatever it might be that they, that we do, hiking, hiking with my daughter. I live in just one of the most beautiful places in the country. And not being able to really get out and enjoy it.

Just being not, not able to work. I mean, I enjoy working, I mean, work. My career is 

something that I enjoy. I don't really feel like it's work because I enjoy doing it. I enjoy meeting people. So really, I mean, that, that with the actual chemo in itself, when you trying to get enough water in your body. That’s the physical aspect of it. That was some of the hardest. I love water. I felt you could not drink enough of it. But yeah. Just being 

relegated to my couch and not having the energy to do anything. That was hard for me. Because if you ask my wife, we'll go on vacation, and I'm good for about two days.

Relaxing. I'm ready to go. So, yeah, that's a hard thing for me. 

I would go in for chemo. I wanted to walk in, and yeah, it got to a point where it was very hard to do. And Nurse Renee, whom I loved to death. She came up to me, and she scolded me a little bit.

She was like, Chris, I understand, and I know, but you want, you want to walk. It's a pride thing. I get it. But if you fall down, it's going to be a bigger issue for me. So, get your butt in this wheelchair, and let me roll you in here. It’s a hard thing for me to do. It was a hard thing for me.

[00:23:19] Joyce Lofstrom: 

So, the other thing when I read about you is what you do at the hospital. It's Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville, and you go twice a month and visit with patients and help them out. Talk a little bit about what you do and how that’s affected your recovery. 


[00:23:38] Chris Smith: 

Yeah, I mean, it was one of the things that when I got through, and it was something that immediately, I wanted to get into. There were a lot of times when I was in there by myself during my treatment and to have the pastor walk around or have this volunteer come in, even to speak to you for a few minutes.

I'm a social kind of butterfly, so I like that. I need that. And the uplifting words and just the help they gave me. It meant something. And so, I go, and again, it's only twice a month because I still got work and a lot of other things to do. 

[00:24:27] Chris Smith: 

But I love to see the nurses. I love to see my doctor. I love to see them and just walk around. Everybody handles it differently and you can see the deer-in-the-headlight look when you've got somebody who's kind of been there for the first time. You see the people who are struggling and, and it's, it's hard.

I don't force my story upon anybody, but when we start talking, I do tell them. I'll let them know I was only given a 20% chance, and here I am. Then, my hope with that is to help give them that strength, even if it is just for that day.

Give them that hope that they can, too, survive. So, it means something to me because I feel like some hope that I was given by my friends and family and the strength I got from them; I'm trying to pass it on to them a little bit.

[00:25:35] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Yeah. How about what advice would you give to other guys who might think they have testicular cancer or going through treatment? Any advice? 

[00:25:49] Chris Smith: 

I mean, like you said, you got to be your own advocate. I don't think about it a lot, but I've certainly thought about it a couple of times. Like when I felt that lump, had I been more forceful at that point in time, maybe I could have prevented it from getting to my lungs.

Maybe I could have prevented the tumor from my kidney from causing it to have to be removed. The process certainly taught me that you are your best advocate and you know your body better than anybody. So don't be afraid to voice what you think. 

I met with a doctor in Chapel Hill when I knew I needed to do the high-dose chemo.

I went, went there, UNC, and I walked out of there just not feeling great about it. I didn't think, I felt like I was just a number to him. And then I went and met Dr. Einhorn, and I felt, I felt loved, and I felt cared for. And I felt like he was invested. And so, I think that's okay.

I don't think that you need to; if you don't have the feelings, the good feelings, good vibes from somebody, go find somebody else. When I went in there for high-dose chemo, the first round, I started to get these headaches. And I knew what it was from. It's from dehydration. I couldn't get enough fluids in me, and I asked for an IV. Their response was to walk in with an Oxycontin.

And I was like, what is this? They told me, and I was like, go get the doctor. And they went and got the doctor. And I said, look, put it in your charts right now. Do not ever bring that into my room. I do not want ever to take one of those. I was like, I know what it is, the headaches up front, I'm dehydrated.

Give me a bag of fluid; let’s see what happens. And sure enough, they put me on a bag of fluid; the headaches went away. I walked around with a bag of fluid for the rest of the time I was there, but again, I mean, it took me telling them and really standing up for it as opposed to popping another pill. 

[00:28:04] Joyce Lofstrom: 

You make such a good point there with a lot of things, but it's back to being your own advocate. The other thing about the pain pill is, I'm with you on that, on Oxycontin or any of those opioids. And that is often the first easy choice. We experienced some of that too, when Max was going through treatment. And the other thing, though, you knew what you needed, and you asked for it, and you received it. I've spent a lot of my career in healthcare, and it’s important patients not only advocate for themselves but then have medical professionals, the nurse, or the doctor, at least listen.

They may disagree, but at least listen. And obviously, what you asked for made sense in terms of dehydration and fluid. So, I just again applaud you for that because it's important to have that dialogue and to know what to ask for, I guess, too, or at least try.

[00:29:03] Chris Smith: 
Yeah. And, you touched on something that, I mean, I think once I said that to the doctor up in Indiana, he didn't push back, and they were all on board. Dr. Anthony, my guy here in him Henderson, my oncologist here. I commend him because when the decision was made to go to Indiana, he deferred to Dr. Einhorn. He made himself fully available.

I mean, I don't know how he found out, but one time I even kind of passed out in public and ended up in an ambulance, and it was like 10 o'clock at night. And before I went to Indiana. And here Dr. Anthony calls me on my cell phone, and Chris, what happened? What’s going on?

I have no idea how he did that, how he found that out. But I mean, yeah, the support and the willingness to listen and desire to help. I felt very fortunate with the two hospitals I worked with.


[00:30:04] Joyce Lofstrom: 

The other point I'll make before we go on and talk about your golf tournament is simply for listeners to find the right place to go for treatment because there are certain medical centers throughout the country. The U.S. is what I'm talking about. And I'm sure in the rest of the world where they have done the surgeries that you had to have and the chemo, they have done it numerous, multiple hundreds of times and they know what they're doing, and not everybody does. 

Like your experience when you checked out the UNC hospital. And not that it's a bad place to go, it's not, but for what you need, you being the cancer patient, you have to find the right place that has experience with it.

It's hard. I mean. 

[00:30:54] Chris Smith: 

Yeah, no, I mean, you're, you're right. I know this isn’t a political show. 

I am not going to get into that, but boy, President Obama did. By inserting that in where an insurance company cannot decline, decline you now based on a preexisting condition. I mean, it saved my life. Because in the before times, I have zero doubt that I would’ve been declined all the way across the board. And here's a procedure that when I went up to Indiana, I mean, it's a $2 million procedure by the time it’s all said and done. 

[00:31:34] Joyce Lofstrom: 


[00:31:36] Chris Smith: 

Obviously, very few people can actually afford it. 

I mean, they even gave me a $10,000 credit card for flights and for hotels and stuff like that. But my wife could fly up, and we could get a hotel in between and all that, for food and stuff like that, which, I'm grateful, obviously. I mean, that's something that I would not have been able to get in the before times.

So, yeah, that's my little plug. Don't let your insurance go.

[00:32:13] Joyce Lofstrom: 

No, that's right. I agree. And I agree with you on what you've said about President Obama and the preexisting condition situation. And it's wonderful to have that now. 

So, let's go on to your golf tournament. You mentioned it earlier that your coworkers put that together while you were going through treatment. So, talk about the golf tournament and what’s next with that. 

[00:32:37] Chris Smith: 

Yeah, so I like you mentioned, it's a real estate firm in Asheville, North Carolina. It's called Modern Mountain Real Estate. And once I got through with everything, and I was committed to kind of keep that golf tournament going, and so we have now done it. Three times after the one that was done for me.

And each year, we tend to average $12,000 to [$15,000 that we can raise in a day. I know a lot of business owners in town. I work with a lot of people and so what I do is I get them to sponsor the holes. I get a lot of prizes donated to create raffle prizes and drum up money that way.

And, of course, we'll drive around and sell a little booze to get everybody all loosened up and get their pockets opened up. We hosted it this year at the Grove Park Inn, which is a beautiful resort in Asheville. And we're going to be there again next year on October 1st. It'll be the first Sunday in October.

It's just a really good time. Everybody who's a part of it, they understand what my journey was, and they understand that this is my way of paying it forward. And I'm grateful because, I mean, I even get other real estate firms and agents from other firms who come and are a part of it.

It's not about recognition for my firm. It's about a patient. Each year what I do is, I talk with the cancer center, and I try to get them to help me identify a younger family. 

It's one of those things that when it's all said and done, I deliver them a cashier's check, and they can do what they want with it. And I hope that it brings some relief during what I know can be a financially stressful time, along with all the emotional and physical aspects of the challenge as well.

[00:34:40] Joyce Lofstrom: 

That's wonderful. What a way to give back and find that family. So, we'll definitely have you come back and talk about that down the road with us, about your tournament. 

We talked about the tournament. What’s next for you, Chris, personally or professionally? What’s next on your agenda for life, I guess?

[00:35:02] Chris Smith: 

Well, like I said, I own a real estate firm in Asheville, and I've got about 23 agents who work with me. And my focus with the firm is to be community-centric. We want to host events here at our office once a quarter, whether it's a pet adoption or a blood drive. That’s a big focus for us.

I am opening a property management division. This is a very vacation rental-rich area. People love to come here and vacation. And so, because of that, we've got a lot of those in our market. 

Yeah, my kids, my oldest son's 24; he's an electrician and out on his own. My 19-year-old is in Charlotte, and he's doing cybersecurity, working for Wells Fargo. 

And then, I've got what's about to be a 17-year-old who's a junior in high school. So, seeing him through and getting him graduated. And traveling. I mean, I'm a travel junkie, so I love to go. 

[00:36:10] Joyce Lofstrom: 


[00:36:11] Chris Smith: 

And I hope that my blood results are good. And then, I’ll keep moving forward. 

[00:36:15] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Yeah. So last question. A fun one. What song? When you hear it, you have to sing along to it. 

[00:36:22] Chris Smith:

Simple Man by Leonard Skynyrd. That's one when it comes on, I feel like if people will actually listen to the words, whether you're a man or a woman, I think there's some good, good advice in there, and it's always resonated with me.

[00:36:40] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Okay. I haven't heard that one yet. So, I mean, in terms of people picking their songs. So that's good to know. 

[00:36:46] Chris Smith: 

I'm not the best singer, so it's only when I'm in the car by myself.

[00:36:51] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Yeah, me too. 

Well, Chris, thanks for taking the time to do this and joining me on the podcast. And like I said, we'll have you come back as the golf tournament gets closer, and, glad you're here.

I'm glad you're healthy, so thank you.

[00:37:07] Chris Smith: 

Joyce, thank you for doing this and helping bring more recognition to it. I truly don't think enough people realize how deadly testicular cancer is for young men, especially as you well know. 

And I don't think there's enough recognition of it. And I think; honestly, I think doctors, when I think back to sports checkups you go to, and they're checking you for a hernia, they'll turn and cough. 

I think doctors should be talking about this to boys. They should be having that discussion with them and explaining what to look for because, as you well know, it will take the life of young men, very young men. I do think that it's something that, if it were discussed and known, I think we could catch it quicker than what we do.

So, thank you for this, and I would be honored to help and assist with anything to help bring testicular cancer to the table for more people.

[00:38:22] Joyce Lofstrom: 

Well, thank you.  I really appreciate that, Chris.  


Chris Smith: You're welcome.

[00:38:25] CLOSING: 

Thank you for listening to this episode of Don't Give Up on Testicular Cancer. If you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe to our program on your favorite podcast directory. You can also visit the Max Mallory Foundation at to listen to previous podcast episodes or donate to the foundation.

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