"Being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer was the scariest thing I have ever been through, and the scariest part was the 2 weeks I spent searching for an oncologist. I didn't even know what an oncologist was until my diagnosis, but that's beside the point!
After meeting with two different oncologists at two different hospitals, I was more scared than ever. My last stop was meeting Dr. Slamon at UCLA. I remember feeling like I was 'home' while waiting for him in the exam room, but I wasn't sure why. He came in, introduced himself, and gave me a 20 minute examination before talking about anything. Afterwards, he sat down right across from me and said what he believed we should do. He DIDN'T want to use the standard chemo drug, because of possible long-term side effects. He continued to tell me that my type of cancer, Triple Negative, was very aggressive, but most of the time, chemo gets rid of it right away, and I will be fine. Of course he
never gave me a definitive yes to no to being cured, but he did say as long as I reacted to the chemo, I had a good chance of being cured. He was not anxious like the other doctors. And I can't explain when, but I knew that I was going to put my life in his hands.
It was on that day that I believed I was going to be OK, and that this was all happening for a reason.... today, a year and half later, I am cancer free and as healthy as ever... In addition, I was so inspired by him and my UCLA team, that I started a company called Zero Negative to help raise money for the JCCF. The doctors at UCLA saved my life, and I am forever thankful for my experience at UCLA. I am driven to help them find a cure for this dreadful disease, and I really believe cancer was a 'blessing' and not a 'curse' because of my experience."
"The Cupcake Girl," Makenna Liess, created Cupcakes for Cancer in memory of her uncle Mark Hemmers, who battled a rare thyroid cancer. Once diagnosed, Mark took part in a clinical trial at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC), that helped him gain two more years of life. Proceeds raised from Cupcakes for Cancer support hematology and oncology research, under the direction of the JCCC's Dr. Lee Rosen (pictured at left with Makenna and grandparents, Joan & Louis E. Hemmers). Since Makenna started this effort 10 years ago, Cupcakes for Cancer has raised more than $50,000. Congratulations and thank you Makenna on helping make cancer a little less scary, one cupcake at a time.