Kelvin “Doc” Sinclair has always been fiercely committed to his passions.
Consider his early foray into disc jockeying. At just 9 years old, after learning fractions and playing schoolyard tag, he’d spend afternoons at a local roller skating rink, learning the art of emceeing from a local DJ. Before third grade was out, Doc was spinning ‘80s soft rock tunes on Thursday nights for a rural North Carolina audience, earning $50 a night.
A few years ago, when he got seriously into weightlifting, Doc didn’t just focus on his own fitness. He built a gym in his Sacramento, California home that 20 people now visit three times a week for free personal training sessions. Similarly, when a friend introduced him to koi fish, he didn’t just buy one of the comely carp. Doc dug a pond in his backyard where 25 fish could thrive.
And, after joining another friend to explore the famed caverns of Murphys, California, Doc returned home a self-described “rock hound.” In the decade since, he’s connected with rock enthusiasts worldwide and curated a collection thousands of specimens strong. He’ll tell you about the stunning aquamarine stones from Afghanistan, the brilliant geodes of Mexico and a prized pyromorphite from Japan. “It’s the beauty that hooks you,” says the Renaissance man.
Doc’s latest passion emerged from adversity, yet he is every bit as invested: enjoying a vibrant and robust life with his family while facing glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive form of brain cancer.
“When I am interested in something, it’s not just surface level,” he said. “With everything I commit to, I commit fully. This is no different.”
Forming deep, authentic connections is a common thread to Doc’s eclectic interests. Sometimes, these connections form extremely quickly. Such was the case with Doc’s wife, Terra, the woman he calls “the most amazing person in the world.” The couple met at a friend’s bonfire in 1991, and, the very next day, Doc told her: “I’m going to marry you.”
Terra was understandably shocked, but she also felt drawn to the energy of this passionate, unconventional man.
“I could see he was different from all the other guys I’d ever met,” Terra said. “He was more caring, more kind and had a thirst for spiritual truth.”
Less than a year after that initial meeting, the couple tied the knot. They’ve raised a family that includes three children and, now, seven grandchildren.
“Doc is the type of person who would give the shirt off his back and the last dime in his pocket, and yet he is not gullible,” Terra said. “He’s very balanced and grounded. He makes me feel grounded, too. When he consoles me, it makes me feel like all our troubles just fade away.”
And there have been troubles.
A few years ago, Doc began experiencing déjà vu and smelling odors not actually present in his environment, a phenomenon known as olfactory hallucinations. Following a series of tests, he received the life-altering GBM diagnosis. It came as a shock to the family of a man who has always prioritized health and fitness.
During a tumultuous period involving three brain surgeries, Doc and Terra have drawn strength from each other.
Terra, an artist and Bengal cat breeder whose work has been cited by the veterinary genetics laboratory at the University of California, Davis, hit pause on her career to support her husband. After doing considerable research, the couple decided to include Novocure’s therapy as part of Doc’s treatment plan.
“I’ve received such amazing support and so much love, especially from Terra,” Doc said. “She has educated herself so well, the doctors think she’s in the medical field.”
Today, Doc continues pursuing the passions that enrich his life. Those 25 fish in the backyard? He loves them so well, they swim up to him for a stroke when he approaches their pond. In his home gym, Doc continues offering personal training sessions to friends and strangers who’ve heard about his free service.
“I don’t care about making money,” he said. “I’m training some guys with Parkinson’s disease right now, and to see the gains and progression they’ve been able to make, that’s where my satisfaction comes from.”
Doc admits to having hard days, but he draws perseverance from his loved ones — the special moments when he gets to talk rocks with his grandchildren or ask for their help in naming a new fish.
“I set the tone for my environment,” he said. “I smile, I surround myself with happy people, and I don’t allow negativity.”
Doc is also making time to form deep, authentic connections with others diagnosed with GBM.
“One of my goals is to be there for anyone who is going through this,” he said. “I want to talk with them, to give them some glimmer of hope, to let them know that it can be okay despite the suffering.”
He still needs to find the right outlet and work out the logistics. But rest assured: once he commits, he fully commits.
“This,” Doc said, “will be my next passion.”
The health status of patients featured reflects their condition at the time the story was written and photographs were taken and may have changed over time.