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General Hospital

John J. York Opens Up About Returning to GH!

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The welcome wagon — by way of black T-shirts — was rolled out when John J. York (Mac, General Hospital) returned to work last month for the first time since taking medical leave in December 2022 to undergo treatment after being diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and smoldering multiple myeloma, two blood and bone marrow disorders. The GH veteran is due to return to the screen on Wednesday, June 19.

From what York told Soap Opera Digest, the shirts — boldly proclaiming ‘Mac Is Back’ — that his colleagues wore the day he returned to the soap opera’s set was an idea sparked by executive producer Frank Valentini and brought to life by costume designer Shawn Reeves. “They put those photos up on social media… and the response and everybody saying they were thrilled that Mac is back, it’s just so crazy. I can’t even believe it!” he confessed. “I mean, who am I? I’m just so thankful for everything that I have.”

York also admitted that he originally intended to keep his cancer diagnosis and life-saving blood stem cell transplant a secret. However, he changed his mind after a representative from NMDP (formerly known as Be The Match) encouraged him to use his platform as a television actor to bring awareness to the marrow donor program. After he posted a video revealing his health struggle, York says he was flooded with messages of support — and Be The Match was flooded with donations. “You just never know, $5 or $10 or $25, that might be the donation that is able to fund a new drug,” he mused.

Having that kind of impact, York added, was humbling. “Not like I’m a nothing burger, but I’m just a guy that got really lucky getting a job on a TV show in 1991,” he shared. “And here I am, still able to be working after 33 years. It’s a miracle.”

Stepping back into Mac’s shoes after so much time away was second nature. “It was great, and it was seamless,” he noted, adding that he was greeted with hugs from everyone he’d worked with that day. “I got a great, emotional, tearful hug from Kristina [Wager, Felicia] that lasted quite a while. It was good to be back.”

York also shared that he was looking forward to his alter ego (hopefully!) discovering that Josh Kelly’s Cody is his son. “I’m excited because I don’t know what they’re going to do, but this could potentially affect everybody: Felicia and Maxie and Robert and James and Georgie and Bailey,” the actor says of Mac’s other family members.

No matter what lies ahead, York feels blessed to be back in the midst of things at GH and for the support he’s received from the audience over the past year and a half. When asked if he had a message for the viewers, York concluded, “Thank you for letting me come back and be a part of your life, and thank you for all the notes you’ve left me. Thank you for not giving up on me and thank you for [the] support and love.”

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