Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Patient and donor stories

At VCU Massey Cancer Center, we know cancer is personal. When you or someone you love has cancer, it’s an interruption of life that goes far beyond the physical. Cancer research is personal, too. There’s a reason our scientists and physicians dedicate lifetimes of work to the quest of understanding what causes cancer and how it can be eradicated. That reason is because with every discovery, every breakthrough, every step toward a cure, lives are affected in very personal ways.

If you’ve ever wondered how science is put to work saving lives, we invite you to read some remarkable examples of lives that have been extended, saved and improved as the result of cancer research.

Diane Harris Wright

"As with many women who get diagnosed with ovarian cancer, my initial symptoms slipped by my primary care doctors, so by the time I was diagnosed, my situation was urgent. From day one, my Massey doctors acknowledged the critical nature of the disease, but were also extremely confident in their recommendations for treatment. Knowing my treatment options were stemming from the latest in cancer research gave me an enormous amount of encouragement."

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William Weber

"It’s a great relief to talk with the palliative care doctors and know that they are not only considering my disease, my symptoms, and the treatment, but me as a person and how my cancer impacts my life. The symptom relief is just as much a life-saver as the medicine that treated my cancer."

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Ida McCutchen

"I was treated like a queen at Massey. I was treated like family. I couldn’t have gone to a better place."

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Junius Hayes

After working three decades to bring about scientific and technological advances through jobs at NASA and the Department of Energy, Junius was presented with the opportunity to become the first patient in the United States to participate in a clinical trial at Massey testing a new radiation device for the treatment of prostate cancer. He jumped at the chance when he learned that the device was made of materials that he helped develop for other applications. After eight weeks of radiation with the device, Junius received a clean bill of health and feels better than ever. "If I’m able to help advance science in any way, then I’m thrilled to have participated."

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George Emerson

Diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the throat in December 2005, George elected to be treated at Massey after extensively researching his options, including traveling to other top cancer centers and talking with numerous doctors. The more he learned about the challenging nature of his treatment, the more he realized the value of having Massey in his backyard. 

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Terrell Harrigan

"I was impressed with Massey’s team approach to developing and coordinating my treatment. The entire team of breast cancer experts was in one location working together — my surgeon, oncologist, radiologist, nurses and others. 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."

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Rebecca Spivey

"Our lives will never be the same [after a cancer diagnosis]. My perspective as a mother and a wife has been forever impacted by this experience. But, thanks to the treatment I received at Massey, I’ve been given a priceless gift — time to be a mom and watch my children grow up."

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Ray Slabaugh

"Dr. Gordon Ginder and his staff at Massey are my heroes. They made it so much easier to be sick."

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Margie Brauer

"Coming to Massey is a joy. I have been treated with respect and compassion from day one, and my doctors and nurses have become an extended family, celebrating my return to health every step of the way."

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Reed Whitener

Patients coping with cancer.

"I don’t have words to express the gratitude I have for the determination the doctors and nurses brought to my care. Dr. Amir Toor would call in on his days off to check on me. Dr. Harold Chung came to see me three times a day during my hospital stays — and always made sure my wife, Ellen, was doing OK, too. The nurses who cared for me are the embodiment of compassionate care. When I learned that Massey’s Bone Marrow Transplantation Program was one of the best in the nation, I was not surprised. I knew from the start that I was in the best of hands."

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