For years, Steve Williams’ action on the wrestling mat did his talking for him. Then, in 2003, the former two-time state wrestling champion from Lakewood High School was diagnosed with throat cancer. Talking became an everyday chore.
Now, thanks to some of his wrestling colleagues, Williams â€” known as Dr. Death in his wrestling days â€” is hopeful that the challenges of talking regularly without the use of a stoma will be solved.
Friends have started a website, www.wrestlersrescue.org, to help raise the $20,000 or so needed for Williams to purchase a customized hands-free voice box.
His voice box and larynx were removed in a 2005 surgery when a tumor was taken from his throat. At present he has to put his thumb over the stoma, an artificial hole in the throat, to talk. “Now they have figured out how to put a customized voice box in there,” he said.
Despite early setbacks from the cancer that nearly ended his life, Williams said he has been cancer free for four years now. The former All-American at Oklahoma and professional wrestler works for Southwest Airlines. He has insurance that will cover the surgery but not the aftercare, he said.
Thanks to friend and former wrestling valet Dawn Marie, www.wrestlersrescue.org has come to his aid.
“She’s my angel,” Williams said.
There is no set deadline to raise the funds, but Williams, 48, is hopeful that by end’s year he can get his voice box.
“I’m hoping by Christmas. It would be a heck of a Christmas present,” he said.
Want to help?
For more information on the “Dr. Death” Steve Williams Campaign, visit www.wrestlersrescue.org. You can contact them at wrestlers- firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 732-548-5875.
*****from Michael Hicks:Special to the Denver Post.*****