When you’re in the business of saving people’s lives, where do you turn when your own is at risk? For internationally renowned public servant and public speaker, David Toma, the answer was Dr. Eric Karp and Rahway Regional Cancer Center (RRCC).
Following a celebrated law enforcement career that saw him climb the ranks as a revered Newark police detective. A tenure that inspired Hollywood to bring his stories into homes across the United States with adaptations that included Baretta, Toma and The Rockford Files — Toma, 84, has dedicated his life to preserving the lives of others by traveling the world as a public speaker, anti-drug crusader and substance abuse counselor.
Through speaking engagements and appearances, the Clark, NJ native has helped save the lives of thousands, and positively impact millions more around the globe. However, when a recent cancer diagnosis put his helping hands in jeopardy, the search for a savior of his own began.
“I visited several doctors and one would tell me to go here, and the next would say don’t go here go there. And the bottom line was none of them were able to help me,” Toma said. “So I started doing my own investigation, and questioned several people about their experiences battling cancer.”
One conversation in particular stuck with the man who, at his peak, was referred to as “the greatest cop alive.”
“One person I spoke to said they saw a guy by the name of Dr. Karp,” Toma said. “They explained to me how they first started seeing this doctor 21 years ago and they’re still cancer free. I didn’t know anything about Karp, but I knew it was worth a visit.”
Toma’s lead took him to the Rahway Regional Cancer Center (RRCC), and into the care of Dr. Eric Karp and his team of in-house oncology nurses, radiation therapists, physicists and health insurance specialists who welcomed Toma into a soothing environment as a member of their family.
“This place is different than the rest I have been to,” Toma said of RRCC. “It’s the personal attention they give you that sets it apart. It’s the way they bring you in as part of their family that helps you overcome whatever you may be dealing with in your personal battle. I’m not Mr. Toma anymore. I’m uncle Dave to these people. And that’s the difference.”
Toma has been speaking for 67 years, with thousands of lectures and counseling sessions to his name, and even more people whose lives he’s been able to alter for the better. It his gift and a passion he says Karp and the RRCC team has helped allow him to continue.
“I can’t tell you how much I greatly admire Dr. Karp and his team,” Toma said. “Case after case, they’re doing everything they can to save a life. And I’ve got millions of people who know me, who I have been able to help, and there’s more who I haven’t yet reached. These people are saving my life, and because of them I can continue to do what I do.”