Judy Orem always knew she wanted to be a mom. She and her husband, Frank, built their lives around their two children, Peter and Nancy.
When Judy was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in 1995, the prognosis was grim. She likely would be dead in five years. But Dr. Brian Druker, a researcher at OHSU, was launching testing that would lead to a clinical trial using a drug that would become known as Gleevec®. In January of 1999, she and Frank traveled from their home in San Francisco to Portland, Oregon, hoping for a miracle.
Now, each day Judy is making history as one of the first patients to receive this life-saving treatment, which was approved by the FDA thirteen years ago today. Today, patients taking Gleevec have the same life expectancy as the general population. Judy’s life is full with gardening, traveling and taking on projects like helping with her high school’s centennial celebration.
Because of Dr. Druker’s discovery, Judy was able to become a grandmother, and—this Mother’s Day—is planning surprises for her daughter Nancy with her grandchildren Ryan and Elizabeth.
“I want to say thanks to Dr. Druker and Oregon Health & Science University,” Judy said. “Because of Gleevec, I’ve had 15 more Mother’s Days with my family that might not have been.”
Learn more at onedown.org.