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Jackie’s Story

I’m Jackie Hinckley. I’m 74 years old and my journey with cancer started in 2006. Today I’m living with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer.

photo of Jackie Hinckley at the beach

I was given 20 months to live, a grim diagnosis for sure. But that was 4 years ago. Today, the advanced treatment I am receiving in my clinical trial is saving my life… and the help I’m receiving from Lazarex allows me to stay in the clinical trial.

I do this, while I’m not feeling my best… I also cannot afford the cost for housing, airfare, uber. Every month! I’m frugal, so I do my best to keep expenses at a minimum; I take the red eye, I stay in subsidized housing at MGH and I find the least expensive way to eat…. But still, these costs add up and are well beyond my means.

Black & white photo of Jackie Hinckley with her daughters and grandson.

I have participated in 4 different clinical trials. It’s truly a miracle that I’m still here… and I am beyond grateful for this time with my daughters and grandkids. Here’s the catch: to get that treatment so I can stay on this earth, I must travel. Far away. I live in Monterey, California and the trial is at Massachusetts General in Boston. Once a month I take an Uber to the bus depot, a two-and-a-half-hour bus ride to San Francisco, and the red-eye to Boston.

In this battle for my life, I have exhausted my savings. I simply can’t afford the travel expenses – and no, I am not receiving any financial help from the pharmaceutical company for which I am volunteering my body for their research; not in this trial and not in any of the others I’ve been part of. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the opportunity to receive the advanced treatment, it’s why I’m standing before you today. However, it baffles me that I nearly had to drop out of this trial because I can’t afford the travel.

That is where Lazarex Cancer Foundation comes in. They reimburse me for the travel to my clinical trial — they allow me to continue to receive this treatment that’s saving my life. They allow me to take part in a study that could eventually benefit other patients just like me. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be standing before you if it weren’t for the financial help from Lazarex. This is a matter of life and death – not just for me… but for thousands of cancer patients… many of whom will never get the opportunity because they aren’t given options.

Jackie Hinckley addressing the audience at the National Press Club during our Disrupting the System event June 2019
Jackie addressing the audience at the National Press Club during our Disrupting the System event June 2019

I am here in DC to participate in the Lazarex roundtable (Disrupting the System II), then on my way to Boston for my next treatment…but it was important to me to stopover… to take part in this important event. I want to use my voice to spread the message about how patient reimbursements and engagement is key. A key to hope. a key to life. I cherish every moment with my grandkids and my daughters. And I get that opportunity because the help from Lazarex allows me to continue receiving treatment in my clinical trial.

Update: Jackie and Lazarex Founder Dana Dornsife were interviewed on Fox 5’s Good Day DC with Holly Morris. View the interview here.

Update May 2020: Jackie got her wings in the spring of 2020.

“Yesterday we learned that Jackie Hinckley passed away. I will say she gave it her all and got many years to be with her family and grandkids. Heaven gains a feisty and beautiful soul. We were lucky to have her here while we did. What I keep learning is it is not that we die, but how we live knowing that we die. And how we live and how we face our death is the legacy we leave behind. So, blessings to who all who we love who have gone before us! You were comets, meteors, auroras across the open sky of our lives. Mission complete! We’ll take it from here and feel your love from the realms of the ancestors. Welcome home.”

Karen Ambrogi, Lazarex Cancer Foundation