As we come to the end of every year, we are told to reflect on what has happened. I would prefer to say that we need to look at how the dots connected, how our lives unfolded and who we met on our journey.
I would like to share a personal story that changed my family’s life.
In November 2018 my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. We were fortunate enough to have international health insurance and doubly so to have my best friend living in Houston, where the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is located. Within a few days, we were on a plane to Houston Texas. After a year of four different chemotherapies, none of which worked, the only alternative was stem cell transplant – a long and difficult road. Very scary stuff. We were terrified!
Whilst preparing for the stem cell transplant, we met with a member of our Oncology team, who was sitting in for our regular doctor. When he saw my husband’s file he immediately asked “why are you doing stem cell? You need to consider being part of a clinical Trial for a new version of CAR-T”. He immediately called the clinical trial nurse and we began the process of qualifying for the trial.
Finally, George was admitted to the program where he was the second person at M.D. Anderson to participate in the trial and one of about 50 people world-wide. The treatment involves harvesting T cells from a healthy donor (called allogenic CAR-T) and re-engineering them to be cancer fighting cells. They administered a single injection on November 19 and 28 days later he went from stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma to zero. Yes 28 days!
Overwhelmed with gratitude my husband wrote the CEO of the company who developed the treatment just to say “thank you”. Yes thank you for saving his life.
We started to communicate with the company and built a relationship with the head of communications. They asked us to be part of their patient day and to participate in a zoom fireside chat for their Company. Little did we know George was the only patient.
CENTURY 21 Heave-Ho Properties