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Denny Ackley was diagnosed with oral cancer August 2009. He went through 33 radiation treatments and chemotherapy weekly. He was declared “cancer-free” at his 3 month PET scan review, but just two weeks later, he could not hear, he developed a severe case of trismus, and could not swallow. A return trip to new doctors in Iowa City confirmed our worst fears; these were not side effects of radiation, but rather the cancer which had returned, and was invading his muscles. It had wrapped around his carotid artery and was inoperable. He died at home March 18th 2010 when the artery gave way. Denny fought oral cancer with great courage and determination. Lyrics from a favorite song reflect the life Denny lived; “My whole life is a song and I'll share it with you now…” He is our motivation for helping others avoid this horrible disease through early detection.

Denny was born December 13, 1940 in Leon, Iowa and lived most of his adult years in Des Moines, Iowa. Denny retired from the Norfolk-Southern Railroad (Des Moines Union) in 2001 after 42 years of service. He was an avid golfer, boater, fisherman, and guitar player. He loved his family and friends and always had a smile, story, or song for them. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

A majority of the proceeds of Denny’s Memorial Fund will go to oral cancer research, and specifically new means of early detection. The Ackley family thanks you for donating, and through your help, keeping the memory of Denny alive through this meaningful work.

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