At the young age of 26, Phillip Jacobs has learned not to take anything for granted. The Port St. Lucie resident came back from a diagnosis of Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma to finish his college degree and enter the management training program at Enterprise Holdings, the company that operates the Enterprise Rent-a-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands, in Fort Pierce.
But in 2012, Jacob’s world was turned upside down. He was worried not only about surviving his cancer diagnosis, but also about how he was going to pay his medical bills. At the time, Jacobs was holding down two jobs and attending Indian River State College. Then his doctors told him he needed to stop everything and focus on his health.
“That was the most crushing thing for me,” Jacobs said. “I had two semesters to go until I graduated. After talking it over with my family, I made a decision – I’m not stopping no matter what.”
Jacobs was referred to the Robert and Carol Weissman Cancer Center at Martin Health where he learned about the cancer navigator program and assistance for uninsured or under-insured patients.
"My family and I searched all over the state and even to the government for help with medical bills, but there was nothing available out there,” Jacobs said. “Martin Health never hesitated to help me. They not only kept me alive but they helped with the major portion of my medical bills - which I know they were able to do through the support of donors.”
Following six months of chemotherapy and one month of radiation therapy, Jacobs received word he was in remission. With a clean bill of health, he completed his studies, received a degree in organizational management and returned to full-time work with Enterprise .
To show his appreciation for the care he received, Jacobs recently applied for–and received–a grant through the Enterprise Holdings Foundation through the "Jack C. Taylor Founding Values Award program.” The program, which allows employees to apply for funding for a nonprofit organization in their community that is making a difference, awarded $2,500 to Martin Health on behalf of Jacobs.
“Enterprise is a wonderful company that is in line with all the values I stand for as a person,” Jacobs said. “When this opportunity came around to donate, I thought of Martin Health right away."
Despite the pain and anguish of a cancer diagnosis and treatment, Jacobs said he would do it all over again if he had to.
“This was the most humbling experience of my life,” he said. “It changed my life and I’m forever grateful."
About Martin Health System: Martin Health System is a not-for-profit, community-based health care organization that has served the Treasure Coast region of Florida for 75 years. It offers a continuum of care including preventive, primary and acute hospital care, as well as cancer and cardiac care, wellness and rehabilitation services. Its approximately 3,700 associates, nearly 400 affiliated physicians and 850 volunteers provide care at 13 different locations serving Martin and St. Lucie Counties. To learn more, visit martinhealth.org.