Fans of the HGTV show "Flip or Flop" may be familiar with the cancer battle of the show's host Tarek El Moussa. But what you may not know is how he is using his experience to help others. The reality TV star is connecting other cancer patients with life-saving clinical trials.
El Moussa has thousands of fans who watch his home renovation show on HGTV with his ex-wife Christine. In 2013, a registered nurse named Ryan Reade emailed to say she noticed a suspicious lump on his throat that she suspected could be thyroid cancer. El Moussa immediately got a biopsy - and she was right.
"Four hours later I woke up and Christine is staring down at me crying and I said "I have cancer right?' She said 'yeah.'"
He continued shooting his TV show even though he later found out he also had testicular cancer. Following numerous surgeries, he's now in remission and volunteering as an advocate for Lazarex Cancer Foundation - a San Francisco-based non-profit that connects end stage cancer patients with clinical trials that could save their lives - paying all expenses - including transportation to and from the trial - which is often in another state.
"At the very least we give them hope - but in many instances we're able to give them gifts of extended life, quality... and sometimes even remission," Lazarex founder Dana Dornsife said.
So when El Moussa found out his best friend and contractor on the show Frank Miller had an aggressive form of laryngeal cancer, he connected him with Lazarex and got him into a clinical trial that just might save his life.
"I was elated somebody cared - because most of my family is deceased," Miller said.
Miller has already been through 62 radiation treatments which left his throat scarred. El Moussa is documenting Miller's battle on social media - and the outpouring of love and support from fans is giving Miller inspiration to keep fighting.
"Tarek showed me how many people love and care and I was - wow... I'm gonna fight until there's no more left," Miller said.
Miller had to take a leave from the show while he's undergoing treatment, but his bond with El Moussa is still as strong as ever.
"I can't thank you enough. I love you as a brother. I love you," Miller said to El Moussa.
"Everything happens for a reason ... life is connected," El Moussa said. "I'm very happy about it."