Gail's PRRT Cancer Treatment Fund
I'm Gail Christopher and I have a rare form of Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer, which has now spread to my liver and heart. I try to inspire and encourage others often with any life debilitating disease by sharing my story.
My cancer journey began September 30, 2008 after being diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, that had already spread to my spleen and liver. Fast forward 7 very tough years which have included a distal pancreatectomy, splenectomy, liver wedge resection with ablation, removal of gallbladder, another liver surgery to remove 2 large tumors, 2 liver embolizations and unfortunately breast cancer surgery with a partial mastectomy. During this time I was on 7 different chemotherapy treatments and chemo is no longer working for me as the tumors have gotten very large on my liver and are pressing against my lungs and have metastasized to my
Having this rare disease, means that a lot of already scarcely available drugs will not work for me, so my treatment options are extremely limited. This cancer has been resistant to standard chemotherapy, however, I continue treatment because I am determined to fight this terrible disease to ensure I am able to look at the beautiful sunrise from my bedroom window, snuggle with my precious dog Jack and be around to see my nephews and nieces get married.
Recently, I applied for a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering to participate in an exciting new therapy called PRRT, Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed during the screening checks when they shared that my tumors are too large and what is termed "poorly differentiated."
PRRT will be a huge financial burden, and that is why I am reaching out for private funding. Any donation you could generously offer will be used to pay for my treatment which alone is approximately $38K, this does not include the additional expenses of traveling out of state and accomodations for multiple extended periods.
PRRT has been available as a life-saving treatment in Europe for 15 years but sadly is not FDA approved in the US. I will be undergoing 4 PRRT treatments at Excel Diagnostics in Houston, TX every 6-8 weeks. Excel is able to offer this treatment due to a "A Right to Try" act, which states terminal patients have a right to try any medicine to prolong their life whether FDA approved or not.
I will never be cured, and I continue to live my life with whatever time I have left, with my family and friends and son Jack. I have never let this cancer stop me from enjoying life, my focus has been on living, not my diagnosis. I don't have a bucket list filled with extravagant things, mine is pretty simple. With this treatment, I hope to celebrate my mom's 90th birthday and spend quality time with my family and friends. The treatment is expected to cost a minimum of $38K, which is inclusive of the drug itself.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I am humbled every time I share my story. Every dollar is greatly appreciated and will help me reach my goal. Several years ago, Irene Maher, a local journalist in the Tampa Bay area, wrote a story on pancreatic cancer. Please take the time to read the article and understand the impact of this horrible disease.
To find out more information about PRRT, please go to PRRTinfo.org
I've applied for a small grant to assist me with these medical expenses and will hopefully hear good news on that in June. I'm still hoping to raise almost $25K to pay for treatments 2, 3 and 4...and I want to thank everyone who has donated so far. Some have gone over and beyond and have sent in a second donation for my second upcoming treatment.
I thank God for all my blessings and especially each of you reading this. May He continue to bless your lives.
Much was revealed about status of this cancer during all the pre-testing.....I will be headed back to Houston in May for my 2nd treatment. I may have some surgery in April depending on what bone specialist says next week. Staying positive and praying that these treatments will offer quality of life and healing.
Thank you again for your donations, I'm almost 1/3 attainment of my goal....feeling very thankful.
Saw this quote the other day and I knew I read it for a reason
"As the tumor grew, do did my list of reasons to beat it"
Thank you all again, my love to each and everyone of you.
I still have a long way to go to reach my goal but I am believing God to improve this situation and provide the finances necessary so I can have all 4 treatments.
Gail, I don't know if you remember me (Lucy Conti) from the class of 1975. I remember you as an upbeat, pleasant, smiling girl, the components to dealing with what you are everyday. The photo to the left is our 40th! class reunion this past May. Praying for you and wishing you the best. Lucy Conti Mitchell