Denton: Pat Williams Diagnosed With Multiple Myeloma

By John Denton
February 15, 2011


ORLANDO – Just as he had done almost 25 years ago when he stood on a podium and flashed a T-shirt that read, ``Orlando: On the Way to the NBA,’’ Pat Williams pulled back the lapels on his tan jacket on Wednesday and showed off a new T-Shirt in his collection.

This one read, ``Mission: Remission.’’

Williams, the Orlando Magic’s Senior Vice President, has been diagnosed with a blood disease known as Multiple Myeloma. The disease attacks the bloodstream and the marrow in bones and while it isn’t curable, it is treatable. And that’s all the always energetic Williams, 70, needed to hear from the medical team treating him.

``It’s not something that’s curable yet, but the goal is remission,’’ Williams said. ``I asked (Dr. Robert Reynolds) what the odds of remission were he said 70 to 75 percent, and I told him, `I like those odds.’ I am going to beat this.’’

Williams is the man credited with helping to bring the NBA and the Magic to Orlando. Williams started the pursuit of Orlando’s effort to get an NBA franchise in July of 1986 and worked hard to convince NBA Commissioner David Stern that professional basketball could work in Central Florida. Orlando was ultimately rewarded that franchise on April 22, 1987, and Williams has remained a part of the organization ever since.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said that everyone in the organization admires Williams’ boundless energy and positive attitude in any situation.

``He’s one of the most energetic and upbeat people I’ve ever met,’’ Van Gundy said. ``I’ve never seen the guy in a dour mood, he’s always optimistic and encouraging and he’s not a guy sitting around watching life go by. I admire that in him and wish I had the same positive energy and optimism that he has.’’

Williams’ condition was uncovered during a yearly physical, and the hope is that it was caught early in the process. Dr. Reynolds, one of the leading oncologists in the nation, said that ``I expect Pat to live with this disease for years.’’

Williams is undergoing chemotherapy treatments twice a week for two weeks before taking a week off for his body to recover. He was told that he should be able to keep his hair and that other than bouts with fatigue he should be able to continue his usual lifestyle of speaking engagements and writing books. A prolific author, Williams has written more than 70 books and another one about his fight with this blood disease could be in the works.

``I’m journaling every day about the ordeals,’’ Williams admitted. ``We’ll just have to see how it turns out.’’

A motivational speaker who has dazzled thousands through the years with his positive message, Williams sees this phase of his life as what he deemed, ``a calling.’’

He wants to become a spokesman for the fight against cancer and Multiple Myeloma. He’s already formulated a list of key factors in his recovery, ranging from hope and optimism, a message of physical fitness, his deep faith and the support of those around him.

``I always thought there would be another big chapter and a grand finale of sorts left for me,’’ Williams said. ``Perhaps this is what we’re seeing now. I’m being called to a new ministry of hope and to help others. This is how it’s going to play out for me and apparently this is what the Lord has for me. I’m totally ready for this calling of mine in life.’’

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. E-mail John at jd41898@aol.com. Submit a question to John for his mailbag segment at AskJD@orlandomagic.com.