The Next Breakthrough Could Be Yours: Patient Stories
In late 2012, Jesse Hardy found himself in need of emergency surgery for a painful blood clot in his abdomen. During the procedure, the surgeon discovered multiple tumors on Jesse’s liver. More than a year later, Jesse – a husband, father, and grandfather - is participating in a national clinical trial led by the Hollings Cancer Center. He has responded so well to treatment that he recently came out of retirement to work as a mechanic in a new garage.
“The treatment I’ve received through this center – it’s indescribable. It is totally amazing the things that are being done here. With what Hollings is offering patients right now, and what they are doing in research for the future, well, I’m just glad I am a part of it.”
When Al Harman was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma in 2006, he had surgery in his hometown, but when the cancer returned two years later, he and wife Lisa decided to look around for options. “We didn’t like the options they were giving us, so we went looking for someone who specializes in kidney cancer and a place that could offer us better options,” Lisa explains. “Our research led us to Hollings Cancer Center and Dr. Harry Drabkin.”
When Dr. Drabkin suggested a clinical trial on which he served as Principal Investigator, Al said he wanted to try it because he knew it would give him the best chance. A long-time professional sport fisherman, he has traveled the world fishing. Now on his second trial, he still tries to fish every day. He mainly fishes the waters right out his back door these days, but still makes it off-shore to fish a couple of times a year.
When Katie Maxwell visited her physician with unexplained body pain and abdominal bloating, she suspected the symptoms were related to a recent fall from a horse during competition. However, tests revealed the 42-year-old wife and mother had advanced peritoneal cancer, a “cousin” of ovarian cancer. The diagnosis led the former nurse, wife and mother to the Hollings Cancer Center where she was offered a clinical trial.
“Over the course of treatment, Hollings became a sanctuary for me and my husband. Knowing
everything I do now, I would not be treated anywhere other than a research hospital. I want to
be a place where they are looking for answers.”
When Ann Ramsdell, a mother of two and a biologist at MUSC, was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer, she could have chosen to be treated anywhere. But Ann chose the Hollings Cancer Center because of its clinical trials program.
Today, Ann is in remission and has switched the focus of her research from heart defects to breast cancer.
"I chose Hollings because I wanted access to the most aggressive and advanced drugs available. I wanted a clinical trial."
View Ann's patient story video
When Charlene Stuart's leukemia returned at the age of 54, physicians said the best option for someone her age was a mini-transplant clinical trial. The stem cell transplant, performed for the first time in South Carolina at Hollings Cancer Center, was a success.
Now, a survivor of more than 10 years, Charlene’s focus is on family.
"I chose a clinical trial, and it has given me precious extra time with my loving husband and grandchildren."
Diagnosed with head and neck cancer, Ed Bostain hoped his treatment would allow him to continue doing what he loved most: firefighting and rescue diving.
Ed's doctors at the Hollings Cancer Center determined he was a candidate for a clinical trial. Today, Ed is back on the job and back in the water.
"I went on a clinical trial and pretty soon my tumor – not my career – was history."