For more than a year, Harry Muiter has made the twice-monthly trip for chemotherapy at Tidelands Health infusion services in Murrells Inlet.
Diagnosed with stage 4 liver and colon cancer, Muiter, 58, gives voice to the thoughts and feelings of countless numbers of cancer patients.
“I never thought about cancer,” he said. “I drove past this place hundreds of times. And now the people who work here are like my family.”
The Murrells Inlet resident always shows up with a ready smile and a mischievous twinkle in his blue eyes. During his three-hour treatment, he trades quips with nurses, and he never leaves without telling members of his care team just how wonderful they are.
But in the past year, words just haven’t been enough. So when a surfing buddy visited from Costa Rica recently, Muiter, also a surfer, asked him to help make a lasting gift that would show his gratitude and be a message of hope.
The result? A surfboard that is both artistic and surf-ready. Muiter recently presented it to the infusion team during a “signing ceremony,” where infusion and oncology nurses and physicians signed the board.
Supported by brackets made of “good luck” wood from Hawaii, the board hangs prominently on a wall for infusion patients and employee partners to see. Trimmed in teal, the board features a Tidelands Health logo, brightly colored ribbons and the word, “hope.”
Muiter, who owns Inlet Engine Repair in Murrells Inlet, said he wanted to thank the team and inspire others.
“They do wonderful things for me here,” he said. “I know how things will end for me, but if I can make a difference and give hope to the nurses and other people who look up and see these words, I want to do that.”
“What he has done is hard to put into words,” said Margaret Breslin, clinical director of outpatient chemotherapy services at Tidelands Health. “It just shows how much they mean to him, and they know it. And Harry means so much to us.”
As he stretched out his arm for another treatment on a sunny, late-winter morning, Muiter looked across the room, nodded at nurses Tara Wiggins and Tricia Balazs and said, “I tell everyone here cancer gave me one good thing – all of you.”