William Conrad

Cancer survivor William Conrad always has a smile on his face, especially when he is outside overlooking his backyard on the East Side. After surviving a close brush with bladder cancer 15 years ago, Conrad said he appreciates the little things in life, like spending time with family and friends or quiet time in the evenings.

Cancer survivor William Conrad has a smile on his face and a sunny disposition these days.

Conrad will be the first to tell a person that while he survived bladder cancer, he doesn’t have the horror stories that many cancer patients tell of their treatment. Sure, Conrad said, he was scared, but he was able to quickly overcome cancer and live a full life.

“It wasn’t terrible,” he said. “I feel bad that some of these people have been through a lot, but I haven’t.”

As Conrad, 68, sat in a lawn chair on his spacious deck overlooking a grassy hillside on the East Side, he reflected on May 1996 when he was first diagnosed with cancer. That day, Conrad recalls, he had just mowed the grass when he noticed some changes that meant he needed to see a doctor soon.

“Bladder cancer is not a gradual thing,” he said. “The day I discovered I had it, I mowed the grass that morning and noticed some changes when I came in and went to the bathroom. It was very terrifying.”

Doctors’ tests and X-rays revealed a tumor about the size of a ping pong ball in Conrad’s bladder.

“Even after all these years, I can still see that plain as day,” he said.

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