Share your own one in a million story, words of wisdom or inspirations at:
OverComeACC @ gmail.com
and we'll send you a set of Shana's OverComeACC note-cards to help raise awareness.
Together we are stronger!
Derrick (Bubba) and his son DJ
In 2002 my mother Fran
Hart was diagnosed with breast
cancer. That began my mission to be a
part of finding the
cure. I started as a volunteer with the American Cancer
Society in Connecticut. Our two University of Connecticut
basketball coaches Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma were
teaming up to fight cancer. Geno had lost his father and Jim
had battled cancer personally. After 3 years, we decided to
team up with the V Foundation. I loved this idea as 100%
of the proceeds go to cancer research. In my 8 years of
fund raising with the most amazing women, we have raised
over $3.5 million dollars….oh did I mention there are
8 of us? But the big story started May 2010.
My only brother Derrick who was 47 had stomach pains
and ended up in the hospital. You know where the story is
going....they found a mass. A 6.7 cm tumor on his adrenal
gland. Derrick played it down a bit, in fact a lot because
we ended up at the Smilow Cancer Center, August 3rd,
2010. I had no idea what I was about to hear.
A fantastic surgeon by the name of Dr. Udelsman removed
his tumor and informed Derricks wife Cindi and me that
with 90% certainty it was....wah wah wah wah wah wah
remember on the Peanuts cartoon when the teacher was
speaking? That's what I heard....well that blur turned into
Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma. The doctor said "Derrick, this
cancer is REALLY rare....do me a favor and don't go on
the internet , it will scare you!" Derrick was diagnosed with
stage 2 ACC, negative margins......O.K....it hadn't spread?
That's good.....right? This can be cured.......right........?
Wait, don't go on the internet? Forget that....and it started,
day and night, night and day on the internet trying to
learn. (I never really was a rule follower)
So with that, I found what made sense for us was what Dr.
Gary Hammer was doing at the University of Michigan's
Adrenal Cancer Program. There are some amazing
specialist out there doing great things for ACC, but the
research that is taking place at U of M and Dr. Hammer
himself was so receptive and dare I say neighborly? It felt
like he was almost willing to do an old fashioned house call
all the way to CT. Instead he set up a conference call with
my brother and myself and we talked. He gave us a
moment of not feeling completely out of control. That day
I made a decision and I think I even called Dr. Hammer
back that very same day and and I said, "You know what?
http://www.jimmyv.org/ for Cancer Research for awhile
and I am going to raise money for your research."
And that is where we are now!
All told, my parents
took me to Cleveland Clinic, Sloan Kettering Hospital, Roswell Cancer Hospital
and University of Michigan Hospital. All we wanted to know was what to do next. Turns out the next step was to have surgery to take my tumor and
adrenal gland out. After surgery the
doctors told me I would be fine and that all my symptoms would go away. Well, after my surgery I
still wasn’t feeling 100% and little did I know, I had a blood clot in my lung
from the surgery. For 6 months I was on
blood thinners and Chemo. During those 6 months I didn’t understand why all of
these negative things had happened to me. I
was always a healthy child, never smoked and never drank. I kept asking my parents and my doctors what it was that I did wrong for this to have happened to me.
My parents and doctors kept telling me that it was just bad luck. Throughout this three and a half year nightmare, I grew
up and became a much more positive woman, and I told everyone that I was going to kick this
Adrenal Cancer’s butt! To keep my story short, I was diagnosed with Adrenal
Cancer when I was 20 years old and I am now 23 years old! I have been on Chemo since November of 2007
and in December of 2010 I have been told I could stop my chemo because I AM NOW CANCER FREE!
Help raise awareness and promote funding for this ultra rare cancer with the OverComeACC bracelets.