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Cindy’s Story

Cindy S

Cindy had a full life: always surrounded by family and friends, a passion for dancing and theater, running a relocation department for a real estate firm. In 2013 she survived breast cancer. Little did she know, cancer wasn’t finished with her.

Two years after her battle with breast cancer, in 2015, a new, unrelated cancer appeared. This time it was anal cancer, the doctor was unsure whether it was stage 3 or 4, but he was sure it wasn’t looking good.

Cindy followed traditional standard of care with chemo and radiation, but it didn’t work. And a PET scan in 2016 revealed the cancer had spread. Her doctor said she had about 6 months to 1 year to live.

Cindy and her husband scoured the internet looking for clinical trials. The overwhelming search turned up something for her: a clinical trial at MD Anderson taking Keytruda, which was showing incredible promise among patients.  The problem? It was a 2.5 hour flight from home in Boulder, Colorado, and she had to be there for treatment every three weeks for the next two years. Because she felt awful, her husband travelled with her, but the compounding expenses to participate in the trial would exhaust their savings. Contemplating whether this was the way she would spend potentially the final year of her life, Cindy was reluctant to continue.

About 4 visits into the clinical trial, Cindy had a life changing discussion. She spoke with a friend whose husband was also in a clinical trial, and Cindy learned they were receiving financial help through Lazarex Cancer Foundation. Her next call was to Lazarex. She applied and secured the help she needed.

“Finding Lazarex made all the difference,” said Cindy “it made me realize I didn’t have to panic on each trip. It was easier, it was stress free.  And the reduced stress allowed me to focus on my health. I believe it actually helped me get better.

Ultimately Cindy was feeling well enough to travel on her own with Lazarex continuing to support her. Thanks to the clinical trial, Cindy says, her tumor has shrunk. In 2018, following 35 treatments, a CAT scan revealed the cancer is stable and doctors gave her the green light go off all medication. Cindy is no longer in the trial, she is feeling good, enjoying her family, traveling only for pleasure and dancing 5 days a week.

“I feel like Lazarex saved me. They took the burden of financial stress off my shoulders. I’m so lucky and so grateful”

Cindy Schlager2