‘God’s got me’: Glasper is on mission of hope

Published 7:03 am Friday, June 28, 2024

Throughout his life, Willie Glasper has experienced many joys, as well as many struggles. Being faced with a cancer diagnosis in May 2023 stopped him in his tracks and caused him to reevaluate everything he’d ever known.

Faith had always been an important part of Glasper’s journey, but he found that faith tested more than ever when he began having symptoms of difficulty breathing and swelling in his abdomen. He was ultimately diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called GIST – gastrointestinal stromal tumor.

When he broke the news to his family, Glasper recalled breaking down in tears, but reassuring his eldest son, “God’s got me. I’m standing on my faith.”

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Doctors recommended surgery, and Glasper tried to find a date that would work around his 45-year history of organizing the Vicksburg Memorial Day Parade. He has long been a strong advocate for veterans. Additionally, he works as the postmaster for the Port Gibson area, serves as president of the Vicksburg Benevolent Club and is a deacon in his church, Greater Grove M.B. He teaches two Bible studies and has written three books. He holds bachelor’s degrees in math and theology.

Glasper settled on a date in late June for the surgery, but something kept him feeling unsettled, and he decided to seek another opinion.

He was able to get an appointment at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and, to his surprise, the doctors there did not recommend surgery right away. Instead, they recommended trying to shrink the 21-centimeter tumor with an oral chemotherapy first.

After six months of oral chemotherapy, Glasper underwent surgery to remove the tumor, which had shrunk by over half since his initial diagnosis.

“I’ve always had stories,” said Glasper, referring to his life. “But now I have a testimony. God has been in the plan.”

Glasper encourages people to trust in God. Overcoming cancer was just one of his miracles, and there were many along the road on his cancer journey, he said.

He recalled separate encounters with a custodian and a security guard at M.D. Anderson, both of whom asked if they could pray for him. And they did so, right on the spot, he said. Glasper also remembered his online Bible class praying for him during their livestream. The sound of multiple voices praying aloud for him gave him great comfort, he recalled.

Glasper said some of his miracles might seem small to others, but definitely played a role in his cancer experience and strengthened his faith. Finding lodging in Houston following surgery and last-minute flight revisions all fell into place. The medical care he received at M.D. Anderson was excellent and Glasper said he recognized all of those as miracles.

He believes God healed him during post-surgical complications with blood clots and fluid build-up.

“That was God, stepping in there,” Glasper said.

When he was finally able to “ring the bell” at M.D. Anderson, a tradition that declares victory in a battle with cancer, his family was with him.

“It was an awesome moment,” he said. “Lift your head up, and give it to the Lord.”

Glasper and his wife Fannie have six children and eight grandchildren.

Glasper said he hopes to encourage everyone – but especially cancer patients – to let God take control.

“I want people to know they’re not by themselves when they go through this situation,” he said. “Call on God. He’s right there for us. Trust Him. It’s just been one blessing after another. I love the Lord, I love teaching and speaking his word. It’s all about God; that’s what it’s all about. I want God to have the glory.”