It is such an honor to write this note of thanks to the Lazarex Cancer Foundation; I only hope that my words can convey the gratitude that we feel in our hearts for this amazing organization.
My husband, Nick was diagnosed with melanoma in May of 2008. We were told that the odds looked good that he had caught it early, however, our relief quickly turned to despair as he progressed to Stage IV by the end of 2009. It was a challenging time for Nick and our family. He battled through 6 surgeries, grueling radiation, chemotherapy, and as a result of the treatments, even had an unfortunate stroke on New Year’s Eve 2010, at the young age of 41. Nick fought hard to recover from this major stroke and was doing well for about 3 years after receiving an immune therapy medication. However, his response was short-lived, and we were told in July of 2013, that the same area of metastasis was “acting up again” and now not responding to the previous medicine. With this recurrence, things were rather dire, and our options were limited. Although we were not in the best financial shape after 5 years of medical bills, it did not matter; we would go anywhere and spend any amount of money we had left, if it meant that Nick would beat this.
There was a promising new immune medication called anti-PD1 that was showing promise for metastatic melanoma. However, it was nowhere to be found in the entire Northeast when Nick so desperately needed it. We called every cancer center from New England to Baltimore, only to be told that they would be getting it, but not soon enough for Nick. We finally found it at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, ironically with a renowned doctor there who we had seen for a second opinion. As an established patient, Nick slipped easily into the clinical trial there. It would entail him flying from New Jersey to Tampa every 2 weeks for the first 12 weeks, and then every 3 months thereafter, for a total of two years if he was a responder.
Well, things began to turn around for us after getting into this trial. Soon after entering, a social worker at Moffitt told us about the Lazarex Cancer Foundation. We called and could not believe how helpful and pleasant everyone was. The application process was simple and quick, and with probably the greatest ease of this entire journey, Nick was approved to receive reimbursement…we could not believe it, not only for airfare for the two of us, but also for hotel stays, and rental cars! They were a Godsend. This led to more good news as we found out that Nick was responding to the medicine! Thanks to Lazarex, we are able to focus on beating melanoma and living life without struggling, what a blessing. I do not know where we would be financially if it was not for this organization and its generous donors. They have made an extremely challenging time a whole lot easier for us. We will never forget the goodness of Lazarex, and plan to give back someday soon by raising money or participating in a fundraiser, we feel that is the least we can do.