CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- T.D. Jakes often says one moment can change the rest. That was the case several years ago when a little boy from Chesapeake found out that pain in his leg was osteogenic sarcoma, or bone cancer.
Vernon Gordon was only 10 years old when he had to fight for his life. At times during his uphill battle, he felt alone, and he questioned the purpose of the church.
Eighteen years later, Vernon has finished the journey.
"Everything that was a struggle at one season in my life, has been part of my success story in this season of my life," he said.
The season was 1998, when Vernon was diagnosed with bone cancer. He vividly remembers the heartbreaking news doctors delivered to the boy who loved sports. He was told amputation is the way to go, and if he didn't amputate, there was a high chance cancer would return.
But that wasn't the only option.
Doctors were beginning to introduce a new technique that involved salvaging a child's leg by using chemotherapy to kill malignant cells, and implanting prosthetic bones.
Vernon's parents allowed him to make the call.
"What I appreciate is we have doctors and parents who trusted me enough as a young man to let me take my chances, let me fight for my life the way I wanted to live it," Vernon said.
Three years of chemotherapy and 12 surgeries later, Vernon was able to keep his leg.
The months turned into years. Vernon attended Virginia Commonwealth University, where he majored in Clinical Exercise Science, and in 2013 he received a Master of Divinity. The boy who once questioned faith is now the pastor of The Life Church in Richmond.
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Years ago, doctors told Vernon he probably would never father a child. They were wrong. Vernon and his wife Ashley now have two children.
Vernon is also an accomplished singer. As a child, he used to sing to staff members during his long stays at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters. When asked about the next chapter of his life, Vernon said he hopes to be able to reach the masses in a platform that is similar to the T.D. Jakes Show.