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Patient Stories

Our best measure of success is the health of our patients. On this page, you'll find stories of inspiration and hope from some of our cancer survivors.

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Patient Story

Second Opinion Cancer Diagnosis Saves Life of Chief of Police

In January 2019, after experiencing severe back pain for several months, Darren McLaughlin was at work when he was taken to a nearby emergency room. He was having trouble breathing and his pain was debilitating. Darren, who is chief of police in Merr...

Patient Story

Treatment Far from Home Helps Woman Beat Leukemia

Margie Harper lives near New Orleans, Louisiana, but it was doctors at The University of Kansas Cancer Center in Kansas City who gave her a second chance at life. In 2018, Margie was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a form of blood canc...

Patient Story

100th Proton Therapy Patient Extols Her Positive Treatment Experience

Posterior fossa ependymoma. Most people have never heard these words because they describe a rare type of brain tumor, affecting only about 13,000 people in America, most of them children. Stylee Gray certainly never expected to hear them. Yet in J...

Patient Story

Cancer Survivor Brings Awareness and Hope to Her Community

Yolanda Irvin is a woman on a mission. Using her personal experience as a testament to the lifesaving power of a cancer second opinion, Yolanda is determined to bring healthcare education, accessibility and hope to her Kansas City community. Yoland...

Patient Story

Nebraska Prostate Cancer Patient Travels to Kansas for Proton Treatment

When facing a cancer diagnosis, people seek the most innovative and effective treatments available. Sometimes that means traveling to distant medical facilities, adding the anxiety of being hundreds or thousands of miles from home to an already stres...

Patient Story

Woman with Metastatic Breast Cancer Fights with Newest Therapy

Dawn Wheeler was an active 50-year-old going about her day when she received a text from her older sister. “She texted because she didn’t think she’d be able to get through a phone call, but she wanted to let me know she’d just been diagnosed with breast cancer

Patient Story

Breast Cancer Survivor Says Women Must Ask Questions, Advocate for Themselves

Angela Garrison was in the best shape of her life. And although she wasn’t worried, Angela always had regular recommended cancer screenings, including an annual mammogram, and got a clean bill of health. Despite going to the same imaging center for years and having not 1 but 2 mammograms earlier that year, Angela learned in November 2020 that she had stage lll breast cancer.

Patient Story

For Lisa Webb, Life Goes on Even During Proton Therapy Treatments

Lisa Webb is praying that a pencil-thin beam of light will stop the stealthy tumor that is stealing her sight. In May, Lisa was among the first patients to receive proton treatment at The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s Proton Therapy Center. P...

Patient Story

IORT Offers One-and-Done Treatment for Select Cancer Patients

For decades many cancer patients’ typical treatment involved the trifecta of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. But cancer care is evolving, and recent innovations are allowing for easier and faster treatment regimens. A prime example is now avail...

Patient Story

Multiple Myeloma Patient Treated with CAR T-cell Therapy

Bill Coppinger didn’t want to make history. He just wanted to play with his grandchildren. But becoming the world’s first person to receive Abecma®, a new treatment for multiple myeloma, makes Bill both historic and a happy grandfather. Diagnosed wi...

Patient Story

Ewing Sarcoma Patient Longs To Be a Kid

During the 2017 football season, Matthew Arndt told his mom about the problem. What was believed to be childhood growing pains soon turned into a diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma, a rare cancer that grows in the bones or soft tissue surrounding bones.

Patient Story

Taking Breast Cancer in Stride

Cynthia Garner, 62, exudes positivity. She's a power walker who eats right and has never smoked. That’s why yearly mammograms did not intimidate her. After more than 20 years of normal scans, she expected the same in late 2018.

Patient Story

CAR T-Cell Therapy Helps Lymphoma Survivor Beat Cancer Again

In her decades serving and advocating for Latinos and other communities of color in the Kansas City area, CiCi Rojas has worked tirelessly. She has held roles as CEO and president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City, vice presi...

Patient Story

A Curious Course to an Esophageal Cancer Diagnosis

Josh Mullin expected to mark his 40th birthday with the typical trappings: a few friends, cake, a celebratory drink. Instead, he began his 41st year with the worst birthday present anyone can get: a cancer diagnosis. Josh jokes about it now, cancer-f...

Patient Story

Living in Abundance After Breast Cancer

It was 3 a.m., and Angela Grojean couldn’t sleep. As she lay in the darkness of her bedroom, a thought popped into her head, seemingly from nowhere. “For some reason, I just thought, ‘I haven’t done a breast self-exam for a long time. Maybe I should...

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