Stories of hope and healing from the Knight Cancer Institute
Cancer is a life-altering diagnosis. But it’s usually written about in a cold, impersonal way. To restore the balance, we've collected some stories about our patients. From the first diagnosis to the last round of treatment, they show us what cancer feels like from the inside. They told their stories in the hope of helping other patients and families at any stage of illness. We are honored to share these snapshots of real people contending with the real challenges of cancer. If you have a story to share, please get in touch with us at KnightCancerCom@ohsu.edu
‘You have to move forward’
After she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, Shonna Oliver put her trust in two people: her husband and her doctor.
‘I can walk again’
A tumor the size of a cabbage was destroying his knee. Then Brian Matekovich heard of a new type of therapy.
Out of options — until she tried Gleevec
Judy Orem was desperate. Chemo wasn’t working any more. Then she found a ray of hope.
Stage IV cancer, and about to become a dad
Matt Moore was inspired by the kindness people showed when he was diagnosed with cancer. He was determined to pass it on.
Bone marrow transplant
A perfect match
Cancer pushed Lila Newman to the edge of survival. Then a police officer from New York City threw out a lifeline.
In it for the long haul
Diana Dowd joined a clinical trial to test a new therapy for a rare cancer. She helped change the way the condition is treated.
Make the most of your time
It was an experimental treatment. David Seidl didn’t hesitate.
Weathering the storm
How do you survive cancer in the face of a pandemic? Susan Brock focused on getting three things done every day.
The cancer kept coming back
Battling an aggressive type of bone cancer, Derek Fadness faced a choice. Should he take a chance on a new type of treatment?
A van and a mammogram
The exam took Leola Kalamau 15 minutes. It may have saved her life.
‘But I eat blueberries… I can’t have cancer’
Strong. Independent. Could Brenna Lindsley stay that way despite a terrifying diagnosis?
Bile duct cancer
Rare tumor, remarkable person
The surgeons could take out her cancer. But how would they stitch her back together?
Surgery was out of the question. Or was it?
The cancer was destroying his liver. Jerry Widawski had a decision to make.
Welcome to the whirlwind
As a single mom, facing the most aggressive type of breast cancer, Jennifer Severance needed a plan. And she needed a team.
Bravery and a backpack
Lisa Wooden got a new type of therapy for her stage IV cancer. Yes, she carries it in a backpack.
New hope for pancreatic cancer
Whipple surgery gives pancreatic cancer survivor Anne Matsen precious time to spend with her grandchildren.
Dario Villaseñor Valdivia survived leukemia thanks to a bone marrow transplant. His personal motto? Siempre Fuerte — always strong.
‘I wanted to give back’
Hai Pham thought his weight loss was due to stress. Until he got a bruise that wouldn’t heal.
Bone marrow transplant
‘I would understand if you walked away’
Distance runner Matt McCallum and his wife Gabi Duarte had just gotten engaged. Were they ready to face this together?
An all-woman breast cancer team? Yes!
Celeste Saenz drove 2,000 miles to get treatment at the Knight Cancer Institute. It was worth it.
Three dots mark the spot
When Liberty Barnes told her kids she had cancer, her son cried out, “But you’re my mom!”
Hug the ones you love
Shanie Mason had stage IV cancer. Would a clinical trial help her?
She crossed her arms and felt a lump
Catching cancer early made all the difference for Tami Beaty.
Surviving cancer — twice
Emily Hauser’s journey began when her daughter bumped against her chest. She felt a strange pain.