Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Mother and daughter fight cancer together

“When I learned I had cancer, I knew I couldn’t let it control my life. I had cancer, but cancer didn’t have me. I had to find answers and understand my options,” Terrell Harrigan decided after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Determined to make an informed decision about her treatment, Harrigan and her husband Elliott visited three doctors — and chose Massey as the right place for her.

“I was impressed with Massey’s team approach to developing and coordinating my treatment,” Harrigan recalled. The entire team of breast cancer experts was in one location working together — my surgeon, oncologist, radiologist, nurses and others, she said. “I didn’t have to travel to various specialists all over town and worry whether they were communicating with each other. The personalized experience made me feel like I had a second family at Massey.”

“Knowing that Massey was a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center gave me a great sense of security. With world-class research happening right here in Richmond, I knew I would have access to the latest, most advanced treatment,” said Harrigan. To take advantage of this opportunity, she enrolled in two clinical trials. “The cancer was not just about me,” she said. “Participating in clinical studies offered me health benefits and enabled me to use my cancer experience to advance research and help others.”

As fate would have it, Terrell Harrigan’s mother, True Luck, learned she had stage IV lung cancer shortly after her daughter’s diagnosis. “After seeing Terrell’s positive experience at Massey, the choice for my treatment was clear,” said Luck.

“I felt fortunate to have Dr. Tom Smith, a nationally recognized, internationally respected and compassionate doctor overseeing my treatment — and an entire team offering care supported by research.”

As grateful cancer survivors, Luck and Harrigan are committed to raising awareness and support for Massey’s cancer research mission. They know that research is the best hope for prolonging, improving and saving lives.