ABC13 photojournalist becomes face of cancer treatment campaign

Nick Natario Image
Thursday, August 29, 2019
EMBED <>More Videos

ABC13's Nick Natario speaks with photojournalist Damion Smith, whose own battle with throat cancer is inspiring a cancer treatment donation campaign at H-E-B.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- An ABC13 employee, who normally is on the other side of the camera, is sharing his story with H-E-B customers across Texas to help fight cancer.

Three years ago, photojournalist Damion Smith was diagnosed with throat cancer. It was a cancer he beat, thanks to MD Anderson's Dr. Adam Garden.

"He literally gave me my voice back," Smith said.

Dr. Garden said throat cancer normally impacts smokers. Smith doesn't smoke.

Dr. Garden also cites acid reflux as another cause of throat cancer.

"They're constantly belching up acid into their voice box area and that can traumatize the voice box area, and that can get you cancer that way," Garden explained.

According to the doctor, symptoms include hoarseness, harsh voice, and if it gets worse, a whisper.

"The main thing is that if it doesn't get better after a week or two like a cold, that should be a warning sign that something's not right and you should get it checked out," Garden explained.

Now, Smith is using his story to help other cancer patients at the checkout counter. Over the next month, you'll see his face at 350 H-E-B stores across Texas.

In the past three years, H-E-B said it has raised more than $850,000 to help MD Anderson.

"I like to think the money that's been raised has helped people like me," Smith said.

While it was the MD Anderson staff that saved his life, doctors said it's patients like Smith who make it easier to laugh themselves.

"Patients are always thanking us, but the fact that they put trust in me, I mean, I should be thanking them," Garden said.

The H-E-B campaign will last through the next month. It's really simple.

When you see Damion's face, or any others in the campaign, all you have to do is rip a tab of the dollar amount you want to donate, and it'll be added to your total.

Follow Nick Natario on Twitter and Facebook.