A husband and wife are a team that sticks together through good and bad, through the healthy days and the days when a sickness shows up and threatens everything. As a team, Mike and Linda Polatty want to share what they learned through the tough times, and that willingness to share their story and support the Georgia Cancer Center is why they are community catalysts.
“To understand the importance of the Georgia Cancer Center, I share my personal experiences with cancer,” said Mike Polatty, president and chief executive officer for Meybohm Real Estate. “In 2007, my father Calvin was diagnosed and passed away from lung cancer. Five years later, my wife, Linda, was diagnosed with breast cancer. And in 2014, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer.”
While Mike was not treated at the Georgia Cancer Center, Linda did undergo treatment at the Outpatient Services clinic. They said it’s amazing to see how the options for cancer care have changed through the years. They both believe having treatment options available here in Augusta is why the Georgia Cancer Center is so important to the community.
“Being a cancer survivor and a supporter of this great center shows you how many forms of cancer are treatable or curable today,” Polatty said. “If community members and those with a passion for philanthropy step up, there’s no telling how many more lives can be saved in the future.”
After his treatment and recovery, Polatty and his wife were looking for opportunities to serve the community and share their experiences. Polatty served on the Campaign Cabinet Committee to help raise money for the Georgia Cancer Center. It was a chance to be part of a team with people who were excited about volunteering their time and financial resources. In addition, Mike and Linda established the Polatty Family Innovative Cancer Research Fund in 2015, which awards funds annually to research projects that emphasize cancer immunotherapy and/or cancer genomics.
Linda’s life had also been touched by cancer before her diagnosis. Both her aunt and great aunt were diagnosed with cancer, as well as a friend’s sister. She remembers going for treatments and meeting ladies who had traveled to Augusta for their care.
“I couldn’t imagine coming from very far away to get the treatments and then having to drive home with all they had to go through,” she said.
When you think about cancer, if you haven’t been touched by it, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen to you or someone you love later in life. It can end up being a serious situation requiring extended care. The Polattys know they are survivors because decades before they were diagnosed, scientists and clinicians were looking for cures for their types of cancer.
“We are the beneficiaries of treatments and drug therapies that did not exist 20 years ago,” Linda said. “This work is done here at the Georgia Cancer Center. That dedication and perseverance is why Mike and I are here today.”