Cancer puts life in perspective. Daily inconveniences become insignificant in comparison to the things that truly matter. For Alexis Quance, it's having the chance to experience life as a normal teenager. For David Headley, it's strengthening the bond with his family. For Mercedes Velasquez, it's continuing to be the same mom to her children.
“If I think back, if I hadn’t gotten that second opinion, would I be here now? Sometimes you’ve got to step out on faith and go on a little further down the road.”
Donna Sarver never smoked, yet still developed a rare form of stage IV lung cancer. Barely able to breathe, she came to VCU Massey Cancer Center where doctors discovered it had spread to other locations including her spine and liver. In a remarkable case of precision medicine, they performed a cutting-edge genetic test that mapped her cancer’s DNA and helped them determine the most effective drug with which to fight it. That was three years ago. And now, after several successful treatments, Donna is breathing freely again – and giving a huge sigh of relief.
"There is not a single aspect of who I am that has not been affected by my diagnosis. I was a happy 17-year-old girl who lost all my hair and, basically, my identity and had my life pulled right from under me. It forced a severe perspective change. It was difficult to say the least, but all I could focus on was getting better and doing what my medical team said to get me healthy…to live."