Have you ever wondered if all the fundraisers, walks, bake sales, and everything else we do to raise money to fight cancer ever really does any good. Are we really getting anywhere in the fight against something that takes so many loved ones from our lives?
Dean Shepherd of Edinboro, PA would give you a resounding YES! It’s all worth it. Dean received a diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer just a couple days before Christmas 2010. A diagnosis that seemed hard to believe for a 40 year old non-smoker. Two different types of chemotherapy treatments seemed to have no effect on Dean’s tumors. Hopes were to get Dean on a program testing a new drug, Crizotnib, developed by Pfizer to treat advanced nonsmall-cell lung cancer.
Finally after a huge amount of testing and lobbying by his doctors, Dean was admitted into the trial program. First results came back last Friday after the first 6 weeks on the program. A lung tumor that had been 4cm at Christmas had grown, despite chemotherapy, to 9 cm just 6 weeks ago. The same tumor, after 6 weeks of Crizotnib, had shrunk to 6cm. Amazing results for such a short time on the drug. While there is still a long way to go, very happy news for the Shepherd family for sure.
Given these kinds of results with Dean and many others, Pfizer is working to bring this drug to market as quickly as possible.
Last weekend another Relay for Life fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society was held. Again, many thousands were raised to help in the fight for a cure. Many survivors like Dean were cheered on as they continue their very personal fight, and still more that had lost their battle were remembered. Many others fight on in their name and memory.
So the answer is YES, it’s all worth it. Continue to fight, continue to contribute, and continue to be there for those fighting with this disease.
Relay photos by JLV Images, Edinboro, PA