Man with cancer and injured horse give each other unexplainable strength to keep pushing

Man with cancer and injured horse give each other unexplainable strength to keep pushing

One day you're living life with no care in the world, and the next, your world drops in a split second.

Jerry Phan from California is like any ordinary guy, just trying to get a kick-start in life after finishing college.

Jerry went to Embry Riddle Aeronatical University in Prescott, where he eventually earned his Bachelor of Science in Global Security and Intelligence.

Little did he know that his life would turn around when he was diagnosed with Paraganglioma during his college years. It's a rare cancer that develops in various parts in the body including the neck, head, upper torso and abdomen, according to the National Cancer Institute.

For nine years now, Jerry has had this cancer, flying back and forth from California to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, where he received many of his treatments. Recently, he turned to an everlasting comfort -- horses. 

Trigger and Quito, these two horses have become a natural healing for Jerry for the past two years.

"I just went out and I found this lady and she gave me some riding lessons. We became friends and she gave me Trigger and Quito to take care of," said Jerry about how he created such a close bond with Trigger and Quito.

Jerry says the horses helped him cope with anger, frustration and was able to release a lot of emotion that he was feeling, especially while going through his heavy cancer treatments.

"I never thought I would have such a strong bond with any of these horses, but it hit it off, right off the bat and ever since then it's been great," said Jerry.

Jerry says he was able to relate more to Trigger all because of an injured leg the horse had.

"Just seeing him limp around with me and just continuing to push for the walk, it continues to motivate me to go back to treatment, even though I hate," said Jerry.

Now, Jerry feels motivated and no longer asks why he was given this illness, but instead, he just knows he's strong enough for this to live through.

"When I was feeling really down, I used to sneak into the stall and just sleep with him in his stall and lay down on the hay and pretty much to help keep me warm," said Jerry about his bonding moments with Trigger.

On the side, Jerry co-pilots for Angel Flight West. It's a group of volunteer pilots who donate their time and fuel to carry those in need to cancer treatments at no cost.

The flights also carry blood, organs and wounded military who can't afford to go home.

Jerry says that all they ask in return is a 'thank you,' a simple hug and sometimes a little more hope.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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