I was born in December of 1953 in Philadelphia. My mother passed at the age of fifty three from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. My father passed at the age of seventy of heart failure. I had three sisters; my middle sister succumbed to Glioblastoma in 2012. I am married thirty nine years with five children. I was a mechanical engineer for forty two years at AECOM in Princeton New Jersey. I traveled extensively for work at various remote sites around the United States. I worked ten years in the nuclear industry and ten years in the chemical demilitarization industry, destroying weapons of mass destruction. I was recently laid off in October of 2016.
I was diagnosed in January of 2005 after a previous diagnosis of sleep apnea and allergies. Finally, after wife’s urging, I went to Jefferson Hospital on New Year’s Day, 2005. At Jeff they took an X-ray and saw a 3” x 5” mass in my chest. I was diagnosed with Large B Cell Stage IIA Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I received eight chemo treatments then continued with twenty radiation treatments. After a series of PET/CT scans for the next few years I was considered in remission.
After my treatment and survival I became aware of my good fortune. I wanted to give back and reach out to others going through health problems.
At a Celebration of Life at Jefferson Hospital I was introduced to the Buddy Program at Jeff. This program provides support to help cancer patients recently diagnosed with what to expect and how to cope with the changes to come.
While in this program I also became involved with the NCQA - National Committee for Quality Assurance as a patient consultant for Patient-Centered Oncology Care Pilot Practice Collaborative. This program provided technical assistance to practices on how to involve patients and families in their efforts to implement patient-centered oncology care and was mentored by the late Ellen Stovall.
I have also been involved in the Health Mentor Program at Thomas Jefferson University In mentoring students from the Jefferson Medical College. I am on my fourth set of students.
I was invited to provide input for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Cancer Support and Welcome Center at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia before its opening. They requested survivors’ comments at this groundbreaking center for patients and their caregivers. Jefferson is a NCI-designated Cancer Center Hospital. I volunteer there as a “Buddy”. I was a speaker and honored to assist in the ribbon cutting ceremony at the grand opening of the center. I am also a volunteer at Jefferson Hospital.
In June of 2016 I served as a committee member and speaker at the NCCS CPAT Symposium in Washington, DC. It was for the NCCS Planning Actively for HR 2846 Planning Actively for Cancer Treatment (PACT) Act. The NCCS Cancer Policy & Advocacy Team (CPAT) is a program for survivors and caregivers to learn about pressing policy issues that affect quality cancer care in order to be engaged as advocates in public policy around the needs of cancer survivors. I also attended this symposium in June of 2017. This concentrated on the AHCA and doctor patient communications.
I am also a “Buddy” for the 4th Angel program conducted out of the Cleveland Clinic and started by Scott Hamilton, U.S. Olympic gold medalist. I became aware of this program while attending the
Cancer Support Community in Philadelphia of which I am also a member. This is similar to the program run at Jefferson Hospital.
I attended the ASCO Survivorship Symposium in San Diego January 2016 as a member and survivor / advocate. In fact, after recently being laid off from work, I declined a job offer in able to attend this symposium.
At the San Diego Symposium I met Andrew and Esther Schorr. They are the co-founders of Patient Power, an organization devoted to helping cancer patients or survivors and their families through knowledge, to get the best medicine and return to or maintain good health.
Through my association with Patient Power I was connected to eyeforpharma. I attended the eyeforpharma Data & Technology in Clinical Trials USA in Philadelphia February of 2017. In June of 2017 I was on the survivor/advocate panel at the eyeforpharma 8th Annual Oncology Market Access and Pricing USA 2017. I was the Lead on the Patient Panel at the Patient Summit USA 2017 and attended the 7th Annual Data, Evidence and Access Data Summit 2017 both in November.
I volunteer for American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia (CSCGP) at their various funding events. My association with AACR gives me an avenue to thank the people who give their time and money to assist AACR in raising funds. I like to have them put a face to the people they are helping combat this horrible disease. I attended the AACR Rally for Medical Research Capitol Hill Day for SKCC and was the Patient Advocate for the 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in September 2017. I did a radio interview at WOGL in Philadelphia with Dr. Karen Knudsen - Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and Rick Buck - AACR Senior Director of Communications and Public Relations and a Facebook Live interview with Mitch Stoller - Executive Director of the AACR. I was also the Patient Advisor for the 2017 AACR Philadelphia Marathon in November 2017. I did a photo shoot, Facebook Live interview with Mitch Stoller, KYW Radio and NBC10 TV interviews for the race,
I am also active in the Cancer Support Community of Greater Philadelphia, CSCGP at the Suzanne Morgan Center at Ridgeland in Fairmont Park. There I attend seminars, listen to various speakers and volunteer at their various funding events. I also attend the monthly Men’s Survivor and Support breakfast.
I attended the Triage Cancer Conference in Morgantown, West Virginia in September 2017 and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Patient Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC December 2017.