BEDFORD (CBS) – He’s a Bedford man who has been dealt a terrible hand by cancer. But rather than shrinking away from the world, he embraces it. He’s using his skill as a photographer to show the positive side of life and of his town. And in a few days he’ll be named Bedford’s Citizen of the Year.
“I am really blessed. I live in a little town that cares about people,” said Jeff Hoyland, using his computer as his “voice.”
Many Bedford residents showed that care to Jeff and his family when he was first diagnosed with cancer. So the 58-year-old is saying “thank you” by paying it forward. He’s created a Facebook page called Bedford Snapshots and populated it with thousands of photos capturing the positive side of the town he loves.
“If I don’t do something positive I will think about cancer too much. I owe it to do something positive with my life,” he said.
Jeff is fighting head and neck cancer, a battle he’s waged for nine years. “I’m on my third bout with cancer, and I still have a several year life expectancy,” he said.
Because of cancer’s toll, Jeff uses a text to voice device to speak. “It is what it is. It has been harder on my caregivers than me,” he said.
Every day you’ll find him out and about in Bedford, trusty camera in hand. He doesn’t sit back, he stands up. And he doesn’t withdraw, he advances. “I want to get as much living into the days I have left,” he said.
Jeff also volunteers to help other cancer patients, he’s on the town’s Disability Commission, he was front and center for the Town Day parade and on Friday he’ll be named Bedford’s Citizen of the Year, something the town as been doing for 40 years.
“Everyone dies, but not everyone lives,” he said. “There is no better joy than to know I made someone else’s day by my kindness.”
Jeff started his Bedford based photography when he saw some people complaining about the town. He wants to show everyone the Bedford he sees.