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Cancer patient celebrates birthday with cows, cupcakes and cheer

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake man diagnosed with terminal cancer celebrated his birthday Wednesday in a strange way: by spending an afternoon in “therapy,” wearing a cow costume and visiting other patients at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

“It’s bringing a moment to a painful day,” Siporin said. “Bringing a moment of happiness, a little bit of sweetness.”

Dov Siporin, 40, was diagnosed with terminal cancer seven years ago. But instead of accepting round after round of painful treatment and spending each birthday thinking about his situation, he dresses up in a cow suit and passes out cupcakes. He has chosen to celebrate his special day by making other patients in the cancer ward feel a little better. Siporin and a few friends pass out sweets, hoping for nothing in return but a smile and maybe a hug.

Siporin was only given two years to live when he first received his diagnosis. But he determined right away to not feel sorry for himself, no matter his prognosis.

“I found out early on that my way of dealing with it was to try to bring some degree of silliness,” Siporin said, “and a little bit of joy to days that are rough.”

Siporin receives chemo treatments every other week. He estimates he’s gone through more than 6,000 hours of treatment since his diagnosis, with at least eight surgeries and radiation therapy. Through it all, he’s decided to laugh in the face of cancer.

“What I tell a lot of people is that I finally found a good use for all my stubbornness,” he joked.

Siporin has earned quite the reputation at the Huntsman Center, mostly for his kindness. Along with handing out cupcakes, he always takes time to chat with others going through treatments, adding laughs to the regular tears.

He’s dressed up as a cow on his birthday, a turkey on Thanksgiving and Cupid on Valentine’s Day. He knows it’s silly — but that’s the point.

“I know that every time my day is going rough, if I’m feeling really sorry for myself,” Siporin added, “I come here and go around, talk to other patients, chat about how our lives are going. By some miracle, I go away from that stronger.”


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Keith McCord


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