Richard McKinney

SurvivorMultiple Sclerosis

Hillsboro, OR


Richard McKinney was playing baseball for the Kansas City Royals at the age of 23 when he was diagnosed with early onset MS. The discovery was made unexpectedly during his time in the ICU after a car accident, where, fortunately, the doctors found his lymphatic tumor. Richard describes the difficulty of having to deal with multiple changing variables in his life, along with the cost of treatment. During his diagnosis, Richard was going through his divorce and recovering from his accident on top of having to go to treatment. However, he also states that cancer is what also allowed his greatest advocates and support system to shine through.

Unexpected Circumstances

I was diagnosed with early onset MS when I was 23. At that time, I was playing baseball for the Kansas City Royals, and was having a very good time, and it would have been my first season on the roster for the full season.
In 2005, I was in a pretty bad car accident that put me in intensive care for nine days...It was kind of a blessing in disguise because they found a lymphatic tumor within that didn’t metastasize. I was told that after doing research I was in the top three percent of cancers that can have fingers that diffuse to a bone sensitive area.

The Cost of Care

What was hard was dealing with going through a divorce, a car accident, and then having to deal with cancer treatment, and then knowing that I have got to make money. I had great insurance, had Aflac, had everything that you would think you would need. [It can] be amazing how expensive chemo, stem cell transplants, and everything else can be.
I used 6 to 8 hours of [my doctor’s] time and it was $58,000 and that was [the bill] I was paying. That’s after Aflac and my health insurance and catastrophic care.

Care Network

The fortunate true blessing was [that] my mom has been in the healthcare profession, has been a nurse and hospital administrator, working in the chronic pain field for 35 years. She became a great advocate for me at times, especially when I couldn’t advocate for myself.

I watched almost 85 percent of the people I thought were my friends just walk away, because they didn’t want to deal with me or my family...but then I saw people who I didn’t think would be there step forward and come back into my life and say, “OK, what do you need? What can we do?”


The story, as with all of ours who have had cancer, is that, sometimes, the cancer is not the defining point. It is maybe the element that gets our story told, but, truthfully, the story is about the lives that surround us and the lives we can touch through it.
For me, the cancer brought things out about myself that I never knew, and never would have. There was a purpose, and I believe that things do happen for a purpose. And I believe that sometimes the journey at night is through a dark, horrible forest, but during the day it is a gorgeous, beautiful wooded area that has a clear lake with a reflection. Perspective is a marvelous thing.