Robert Wynn Jr. loves to spread joy. One of six children in a family from Winnsboro, South Carolina, he often shares happiness through food, cooking for his large family. He also loves to sew, bringing smiles to others when he wears his handmade, custom bowties. But most of all, Wynn spreads joy through music. As the assistant choir director and a singer at his church, he often uplifts others with his voice.

“God has always put a song in my heart and in my head,” he said.

So when Wynn was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in the fall of 2021, he feared it would steal away the music and joy in his life. DLBCL is the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the U.S., with more than 18,000 people being diagnosed each year.

After receiving the news, Wynn said it brought him to a turning point in a conversation with God: “You have a decision to make: Either you are going to live, or you are going to die. If you choose to live, you’re going to have to fight,” was the message he received.

Now, the song in Wynn’s heart became his battle cry. With a team of expert oncologists and hematologists behind him at the Novant Health Agnes B. and Edward I. Weisiger Cancer Institute, he faced down his cancer.

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In 2021, Wynn was a healthy 46-year-old living in Charlotte, North Carolina, and had recently completed a master’s degree in human resource management from Strayer University. He knew something was wrong when he began experiencing heart palpitations and an irregular heartbeat, and inexplicably losing weight.

He underwent a series of diagnostic procedures at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center. An MRI revealed a mass on the right ventricle of his heart that appeared cancerous. Doctors recommended an open-chest procedure for a biopsy. This would be an intense procedure, requiring months of recovery with live-in support.