George Bunch III

George and son, Nixon, at the helm of Gilmer County’s Times-Courier newspaper

George Bunch was always vigilant about getting check ups. Every year he would undergo routine blood work to ensure everything was ok. However, in March of 1996, his blood work came back with some concerns.

“My doctor told me my white-blood cell count was up,” recalled Bunch. “He said it could be just an infection or something more serious. He needed to determine what it was.”

George was referred to Dr. Shaffer at Northwest Georgia Oncology (NGOC) who concluded that he had CLL Leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

Dr. Shaffer said based on his white-blood cell count that they would monitor George to see if his count increased drastically. They needed to see a trend to determine if a treatment course was warranted.

“My blood was checked once a month for six months,” said Bunch. “My count increased each month, but not by much. It was slow moving. Then one day we checked it and it went from 76,000 down to 30,000.”

George continued to be monitored regularly by Dr. Shaffer.

“Dr. Shaffer said that this disease may outlive me,” laughed Bunch. “It has been so slow moving with no major concerns.”

In 2016, George had his lymph node on the right side removed.

“Other than that, the hardest part has been getting my blood drawn every three months,” said Bunch. “I hold my breath each time for the results and each time my results come back good. My count continues to go down. It is unbelievable.”

Never taking for granted his good outcomes, George has learned to embrace life by doing what he loves like playing golf. Which he now has more time for after selling the Ellijay Times-Courier a couple of years ago.

“Now that I am retired, I can play golf and spend more time with my wife and family,” said Bunch. “I also am thankful for Dr. Shaffer and the staff at NGOC. It’s nice they are there for me, not far down the road.”