Actor John J. York is doing his best to make the best out of a serious health concern.
Just days ago, the longtime General Hospital star explained how he was diagnosed last December with two forms of cancer — myelodysplastic syndromes and multiple smoldering myeloma — which are both blood and bone marrow disorders.
In a new interview with People, York revealed his journey from being diagnosed with cancer to the heart-wrenching moments when his wife and daughter were told, and the treatments he has so far endured, all while maintaining a positive attitude through it all.
While dealing with the startling health news, York has also tried to highlight his personal story to help inspire others to consider donating bone marrow or blood stem cells.
York, 64, has been able to remain upbeat, partly due to his experience and familiarity with doctors and hospitals while battling ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease since he was 17.
As a result, he has taken sort of of ‘been there, done that’ approach to currently health situation.
Heath issues: John J. York, 64, told People about how he was diagnosed with two different cancers and how he broke the news to his wife and daughter; seen in 2018 in Pasadena, Calif.
‘It’s just another thing that I gotta now take care of,’ York told People of his mindset.
‘I went through life with colonoscopies, medicines, the whole thing, and always had to be under doctor’s care,’ he confessed, before adding with great positivity, ‘and living life. Everything’s good.’
It was during periodic checkups for those pre-existing conditions that his doctor kept a keen eye on a spot that just didn’t want to heal.
From that point, he was put on mild chemotherapy in a pill form. But by October 2022 his hematologist — a doctor specializing in blood conditions — suggested a bone marrow biopsy.
Then on December 9, 2022, York thought, ‘That can’t be good,’ when his doctor asked him asked: ‘Is your wife available for a conference call?’ Moments later he would be told of his cancer diagnosis.
The came the time to make that call to his wife of 37 years, Vicki, Manners whom he described as ‘a mess’ initially. After a brief explanation from the doctor about the various cells and levels, Vicki interrupted and blunty asked, ‘Does John have cancer?’
Once the confirmation was made, Manners got proactive and began asking all the questions during the conference call.
At the end of their conversation York asked the doctor his one and only question: ‘Why do I feel so good?’
After sharing how he remains in great shape through exercise and diet, the doctor said ‘that was because we got it early,’ which was welcome news for the soap opera star.
They initially decided to wait to tell the news to their daughter Skyler until their move to Tennessee was complete and he could do it in person. But after two sleepless nights, he had a change of heart and had his wife call Skyler, and they informed her over the phone.
Open book: York, who has played Mac Scorpio on General Hospital since 1991, shared about his journey since his cancer diagnosis in December 2022, in an interview with People
Opening up: York explained that he realized something was wrong when his doctor asked if his wife-of-37-years Vicki Manners was available for a conference call, which is when he shared the cancer diagnoses; the couple are seen in 1994
When explaining his chemotherapy treatments, York made it sound like the experience of someone ‘waiting to get a table at a restaurant.’
‘It’s like about a 15–20 minute infusion for seven days in a row, and then 28 days after the first day of that infusion cycle. I had one in March, April, May, June, July, August, and now I’m gonna have another one coming up in September.’
In recent days, York was moved up on the donor priority list and thinks they’re close to finding him a bone marrow donor.
‘I’m excited about that,’ he says. ‘Many of my family members tested. I believe that the age range is like 18 to 40 to join the registry at bethematch.org/matchformac.’
Last week, the actor who has played Mac Scorpio since 1991 informed fans and explained exactly what he’s been going through and what lies ahead with his treatments.
‘I said I was going to give you an update on the reason I’m taking a little hiatus from General Hospital and here it is,’ he began in close-up video while looking into the camear. ‘So, last December of ’22, I was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndromes, or MDS, and multiple smoldering myeloma — two blood and bone marrow disorders.’
Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are classified as ‘a group of cancers in which immature blood cells in the bone marrow do not mature or become healthy blood cells, according to the National Cancer Institute. The different types of MDS ‘are diagnosed based on certain changes in the blood cells and bone marrow.’
The NCI describes multiple smoldering myeloma as a ‘precancerous condition that alters certain proteins in blood and/or increases plasma cells in bone marrow, but it does not cause symptoms of [myeloma] disease.’
York proceeded to explain the treatments he has endured so far and what’s next on the plan he’s worked out with his doctors..
‘Over the past many months, I’ve had three bone marrow biopsies, many chemo treatments, I have another one coming up in a couple of weeks, and I’m closing in on a blood stem cell transplant,’ the Chicago native revealed
‘Over the past many months, I’ve had three bone marrow biopsies, many chemo treatments, I have another one coming up in a couple of weeks, and I’m closing in on a blood stem cell transplant,’ York said
The actor went on to reveal that he’s been working with the organization Be The Match to find a potential donor on their registry for himself.
He also made a point to ask people to consider donating marrow or blood stem cells to anyone in need.
‘If it’s possible and you would consider being a donor, joining their registry, for not just me but thousands and thousands of other people who are in need of a donor, go to bethematch.org/matchformac,’ he said.
Be The Match is a global leader in bone marrow transplantation and connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or blood stem cell transplant.
Those interested in joining the Be the Match registry must be between the ages of 18-40.
York insisted that this isn’t the end of the road for himself or his character on General Hospital after playing the role of Mac for 32 years, which translates to 647 episodes during his run on the show.
‘I just wanna say thanks for all the support over the years. This isn’t goodbye, this is just “So long!” I’ll have to take a break for three, maybe four months, but I’ll be back.’
Update: York explained the treatments he’s endured to this point, and what’s next on the plan he’s worked out with his doctors in a video he shared on X (formerly Twitter) last week
Treatments: York is currently seeking out a bone marrow donor, as part of the treatment for the blood disorder, through the organization Be The Match
‘I’ll be back’: The actor insisted he will be back on General Hospital; he is pictured in a scene from 2010
He concluded the post: ‘Check out Be The Match; do whatever you can; and thanks for your patience and your time. Thanks for your prayers. I’ll keep you updated and talk to you soon.’
York has been trying to keep things simple when it comes to keeping a positive attitude.
‘My whole philosophy is one day at a time; whatever they need me to do,’ York said of his daily mindset during the interview.
‘Personally, I feel like it’s in God’s hands. God’s will be done. It’s gonna work out okay, one way or another,’ he shared. ‘I’m either gonna survive or I’m not. And life goes on and things are gonna be okay for everybody… Let’s just go one day at a time.’
Read the full article here