March 2021



photo by Molly Kendrick

as beautiful and easy to talk to,” but he did not see her again for two years. One night while out riding in his truck, he was stopped by some friends. Leann was in the other car and he asked her out on a date for the next weekend. The “rest is history” as they say, and they have been “inseparable” ever since. “We clicked immediately.” They married in 1993 and started their lives together. “She is my best friend, and we complement each other,” he said. After graduating high school in 1987, Groom began attending Texarkana College. While he loved biology and the outdoors, he initially wanted to become a wildlife biologist. Two friends encouraged him to test for the Wadley Regional Medical Center Radiologic Technology School to become an X-ray technician. He took the test and was accepted. After finishing the program, he got a job as an X-ray tech in Commerce, Texas. There he attended East Texas State University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in

biology. He enjoyed his work in the hospital, and that enthusiasm inspired him to consider a career change. “I had the opportunity to work with a lot of good physicians,” Groom said, “and they encouraged me to pursue my dreams of becoming a physician. My family physician was an osteopathic physician, Dr. Alex Keller. He encouraged me to apply to osteopathic medical school. The difference between osteopathic and allopathic medicine is the holistic approach to patient care. We take care of the person and not just the disease process.” He applied and was accepted to The University of North Texas Health Science Center–Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas, where he graduated as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in 1999. On December 7, 2003, on his way home after a shift at Wadley Hospital, Groom was involved in a vehicle accident. He shares, “It was a miracle no one was killed. I was wearing a seatbelt and the air

bag deployed, but I still hit the steering wheel, causing it to be deformed.” He initially refused to be taken to the hospital by ambulance but continued to be in pain, so Leann drove him to the emergency room. Once there, “Dr. McCrary ordered a CT scan, which showed a fractured sternum and multiple spots on my liver. The etiology of the liver lesions was unknown, so they did a liver protocol CT the next day. The lesions did not look benign, so they ordered a liver biopsy later in the week. The biopsy was performed and came back positive for carcinoid cancer. After the diagnosis was made and a thorough review of the CT scan was performed, the cancer was discovered in my distal small bowel and the right side of my colon. We met with Oncology, who reviewed the pathology and radiologic studies later that week. The prognosis that they gave me was not good. The doctor felt my disease was far too advanced and did not believe that treatment would be



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