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Lazarex 2021 Invictus Awardees Susie & Chip Hollister

Susie & Chip have been long time friends, volunteers and donors to Lazarex Cancer Foundation. You may have seen them at Lazarex events cheerfully taking photos and greeting guests. Chip passed away in October 2020 from complications due to cancer. They are being awarded the 2021 Invictus Award from Lazarex Cancer Foundation. Here is their cancer journey as told by Susie.

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Chip & Susie Hollister 2015

Chip & my journey with cancer started February 2015 when Chip was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His attitude was “just do the most effective way to remove it so I can get on with my life.” He never wavered from that philosophy until all fights were valiantly fought.
The roller coaster ride started with prostate removal in 2015. Multiple tests and a special shot every 6 months kept the cancer in check until about 3 years later a lump was found & biopsied to reveal prostate cancer in a most unexpected place (per the doctor). So a full body PET scan was done to identify any other cancer. This was when the very tiny spot on the pancreas was found.

A biopsy revealed this was a new cancer- the dreaded pancreatic cancer. Chip had known others, including his niece, who had died from it. He was determined, after talking with doctors, that the Whipple surgery should be done and at UC Davis Medical Center to remove that cancer. The doctors were hopeful, but as a precaution chemotherapy was done afterward for 6 months. Blood tests indicated the cancer may be gone. Well, later tests showed it wasn’t . So another round of a different chemo and many tests and procedures. It all became a blur. But, until it invaded his liver and stomach in 2020, he still was active. Reinforcing our fence, putting up a gazebo in the back yard, hosting dinners and visiting friends whenever he could, etc. etc.

I want to make it clear, however, this process was no walk in the park. So many unpleasant results of the chemo, drugs he had to take, days he had to spend at the infusion center for the chemo. But as soon as he felt up to it, he was doing something productive. He made many many phone calls to stay in touch with his friends. We had talked with Lazarex Cancer Foundation, Dana & Tami mostly, all along. They had staff search for trials that might work. But the doctors felt the treatment they planned would work, so we stuck with conventional treatment. It was hard to find a trial where someone had two active cancers. The trials want to be able to target a specific cancer. When a potential trial was located by Lazarex, there was still an ongoing chemo treatment that seemed to be working. Lazarex was very supportive in our process. They were a God send. I think his attitude contributed to his longevity. It would have been so easy to give up. But not him. He just had no say-so in the end.

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Susie & Chip 2020