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J.R.’s Story


Thanks for your continued support…it makes the difference. I appreciate all that Lazarex has made possible for me.
– J.R.


Well, with melanoma, not so fast.

Melanoma skin cancer is one of the most deadly cancers if it is first diagnosed at a late stage (or if diagnosed earlier it reaches a late stage). That’s what happened to me. Additionally, I was told by several doctors that the existing chemotherapies for melanoma weren’t effective, and neither was radiation. So once surgeries fail to stop the rapid advance of the disease, or the cancer reaches a place where it is not surgically removable, the clock starts ticking. My “expiration date” was estimated to be in 6-9 months once my skin cancer spread to my lungs, liver and pancreas.

Melanoma skin cancer has been one of the toughest cancers for researchers to understand how it spreads throughout the body, in order to develop effective treatments to combat that spread. Recently, however, progress has been made through extensive clinical trial testing and 3 new drugs have been FDA approved in the last 3 years (wow!) because volunteers like me with metastatic melanoma are able to travel to the locations conducting the necessary clinical trials to prove these drugs out. The experimental drugs I was able to receive via participation in clinical trials stopped the cancer in its tracks. The FDA likes seeing that, and now Mekinist and Taflinar are available to everyone.

I am thankful that I have been able to participate in the clinical trial process, resulting in 2 drugs being FDA approved to treat a very deadly cancer. I am thankful that I have benefited from the drugs and have been able to enjoy a quality extension of my life for the past 3½ years!

The key role Lazarex Cancer Foundation plays in supporting cancer patients, existing as a conduit to encourage donations and then distributing them as financial assistance to the cancer stricken drug test volunteers like me extends our lives and gets new drugs FDA approved and available for all who need them. I’d like to express my gratitude and offer a big thank you to Lazarex Cancer Foundation for having the vision to see that this travel expense problem exists, and for having the heart to want to make a difference. Lazarex energetically pursues a plan of true action.

I thank all of you who have participated in or who are considering participating in the fundraising events organized by Lazarex and also to those of you who donate directly to Lazarex. When they then pass your assistance on to me each month I am able to look forward to another month of life.


The numbers are mind boggling. I never thought when I had 3-6 months to live that I would be saying ‘I just took my 100th trip for cancer treatment’ ! But here I still am, 90 clinical trial trips later. Currently in my 3rd clinical trial of which I am a Phase 1 participant (which is a ‘First in Human Trial’) this combination targeted cancer treatment is just 2 pills taken daily and has become FDA approved so now accessible to all. It is the standard of care for my type of cancer (given as a first line treatment). My diagnosis was 8 1/2 years ago and I have been living with metastatic disease 7 years now – and with a good quality of life. And that is also mind boggling!!!

Thank you to all at Lazarex that make this happen for me and to all of the donors and participants in fundraisers for us. By helping me you are also helping yourselves as someday you, a family member or a dear friend may need these drugs too.