8 Stories of Hope from 2018

We featured the stories of many inspirational Dana-Farber patients in 2018. Here are eight that embody the word “hope.”

Ann LaCasce, MD, MMSc, and Sandra Linberg.

In early 2018, CAR T-cell therapy put Sandra Linberg, a 75-year-old lymphoma patient, into complete remission. Linberg had been previously treated for advanced non-Hodgkin lymphoma with standard chemotherapy, but the cancer recurred. Now, after only a month of treatment, she remains cancer-free. Read more.

Erica Esrick, MD, and Manny Johnson.

The first patient to participate in a gene therapy clinical trial for sickle cell disease (SCD) at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s and Blood Disorders Center, 21-year-old Emmanuel “Manny” Johnson has been SCD symptom-free and is back to playing sports with his little brother, who also has the disease. “I am doing this so that my brother might not need all the years of treatment I’ve had to go through,” says Johnson, who completed the trial in May. Read more.


Cameron Smith.

Forty years after he was diagnosed with a rare cancer at 14 months old, Cameron Smith visited Dana-Farber again. “This was where I grew up,” Smith, 58, said as he looked at the Jimmy Fund Building that until the early 1970s housed Dana-Farber’s pediatric clinical facilities. “I wanted to come back and say ‘Hey, look, I made it.’” Read more.


Jessica Audette and her children.
Jessica Audette and her children.

Diagnosed with abdominal neuroblastoma when she was 15 months old, Jessica Audette thought she wouldn’t be able to have children of her own. Today, Audette is now a 45-year-old neuroblastoma survivor and has two kids, who she calls her “miracle children.” Read more.


George and Sandi Schussel.
George and Sandi Schussel.

In March 2015, a lymph node biopsy confirmed that Sandi Schussel had a rare blood cancer known as angioimmunoblastic t-cell lymphoma (AITL). After a standard, long-established chemotherapy, Schussel was cured by July 2015 and remains in remission. More than three years later, it is still in remission—and the Schussels are filling their days with helping others fighting cancer, while still finding time for ski trips and beach walks. Read more.


Monica Jones and her baby, Ella.
Monica Jones and her baby, Ella.

In 2015, Monica Jones was about to begin in vitro fertilization (IVF) when she found out she had an aggressive breast cancer. With the support from the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, Jones was able to finish IVF, start chemotherapy soon after, and give birth to her daughter, Ella. Since her metastatic cancer diagnosis, Jones continues to come for checkups and her disease has been very stable. Read more.


Fran Austin (left).

In January 2015, Fran Austin went to see her doctor about a slight fever, along with thinking she just had a bladder infection. After a CAT scan, the doctor detected an abdominal mass the size of a soccer ball that was diagnosed as stage IIIC ovarian cancer. Genetic profiling of her tumor made her an ideal candidate for an immunotherapy clinical trial. Her treatment shrunk her tumor by 60 percent, and today she is “living a normal life again.” Read more.


Landon Cato.
Landon Cato.

In only the first year of his life, Landon Cato was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma. Through Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Cato stayed resilient in his treatment and the toddler has remained cancer-free since January 2017. Read more.

2 responses to “8 Stories of Hope from 2018

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for reading. Here is where you can find more information on esophageal cancer and how it is treated at Dana-Farber: https://www.dana-farber.org/center-for-esophageal-and-gastric-cancer/

      Dana-Farber has treated thousands of people with these conditions, and this vast experience has given us an unparalleled level of expertise. Patients come to our center from around the world for surgery, second opinions, and an optimal plan to beat their cancer.

      Wishing you all the best,
      DFCI

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