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Sarah Vicidomini

Diffuse Large B cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma


Amber Gregory

Triple Negative Breast Cancer


Jen Cavanaugh

Stage 2 Breast Cancer


Steve Worthley



Suzan Rota

Breast Cancer


Israel AleMan

Multiple Myeloma


Jaime Smith

Germ cell Ovarian Cancer


Camryn Nickley



Anne Palmer

Metastatic Breast Cancer


Barbie Cervoni

Metastatic Thymoma and Morvan Syndrome 


Matt Fogarty



"Cancer is Tough. WE ARE TOUGHER!"




Sarah's Story:


 The day after I turned 21, I was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I had just returned from a semester abroad in Paris and was excited for a carefree summer and my senior year ahead of me at the University of Notre Dame. On 7/1/2003 my entire life changed in a moment. I hadn’t been feeling well for a couple days and my mother’s intuition kicked in. She insisted I be seen by my doctor at Children’s Hospital in Boston. I hesitantly agreed and was more looking forward to my birthday plans that evening. Those plans never happened. The ultrasound technician found a tumor the size of a grapefruit pressing on my superior vena cava, causing me to feel lightheaded as the blood was not draining properly from my head. Had we not found the tumor then, I would have had an aneurism soon thereafter. I never left the hospital and was admitted as they had to shrink the tumor with steroids and get me out of immediate danger. 

 The days following were a blur and the 4th of July in a hospital is no fun, I can tell you that. The instant support of friends and family was everything. The cards, phone calls, packages, visits - all of it. Just to know I wasn’t alone. I received six rounds of chemotherapy and twenty rounds of radiation. Six weeks after my own diagnosis, my father was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer. His treatment course was far more intensive and grueling than mine and my pain for watching him go through it was worse than my own cancer. 

 Upon finishing my treatment, I returned to Notre Dame to finish my senior year of college. There are so many details, simple and complex, that paint my cancer picture ... but the days in the hospital after being diagnosed were are a blur. Every so often I am sucker punched with a clear and vivid memory, or feeling, of those difficult days years ago. 

 When I was first diagnosed my immediate thought was, “but I want to be a mom!” Well here I am, a proud mom of three beautiful babies who are growing into smart and kind children. Life is a blessing. And so are doctors and medicine. The physicians and treatment, both my father and I received at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, saved our lives, without a doubt. 

 We now ride the Pan-Mass Challenge every year and have raised well over $200,000 for cancer research and treatment collectively. We have a story as every cancer patient does. We are just fortunate enough to be able to tell it. CANCER CAN’T stop us. CANCER CAN’T keep us down. CANCER CAN’T stand a chance against our resilient family. CANCER CAN’T.    

Steve's Story:


 In June of 2014, I was diagnosed with a lipo-sarcoma that had grown in my pancreas and spleen. In addition to removing the tumor, I also had to have my spleen and part of my pancreas removed. My recovery was very slow and problematic as I developed complications that led to four additional surgeries to my digestive track. Over the course of four months and down 85lbs, I was reduced to a sliver of the person that I was just a few short months ago. 

 All I wanted was a chance! A chance to eat, to walk, to not sleep 18 hours a day! Slowly, over the course of the late fall and winter of 2015, I put the puzzle pieces of what I had left back together! The stronger I got the better I became at blocking out the pain. I had never worked so hard in my life because we all knew that another tumor would soon grow. In June of 2016, I had another operation to remove a tumor that had grown on my left kidney. This time, my doctor went in by cutting my core in half and cleaning out all of my internal body fat while removing the tumor! 

 Fortunately, my pathology results were positive and I have been living my life as best I can. I continue to learn how to adapt to my body and what it allows me to do, while I push limits every day! Cancer can take a lot from you but CANCER CAN’T take away “ME”!!!

Amber's Story:


 In 2011, I was diagnosed with Stage 2/3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer at the age of 35. Planning a wedding turned into deciding on a treatment plan for the following year. As I went through a vigorous clinical trial that included 16 chemo treatments with 4 different kinds of chemotherapy drugs, two surgeries and 30 days of radiation, I truly had to look deep within my soul. 

 As my outer image began to transform with hair loss, IV scars and other side effects from chemo, I chose to take a hard look at myself in the mirror and accept this certain transformation. Initially, I tried to hide myself from the external world, behind a wig, behind fear and anger, but eventually with the love and support I had all around me, I threw my wig off and stood proud, warrior wounds at the forefront. I am a wife, mother of 2 children, certified yoga instructor, and KiraGrace Warrior Ambassador. July 13, 2019 marked 8 years CANCER FREE! CANCER CAN'T DEFINE ME!! 

Jen's Story:


 In June of 2018, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer; it was an aggressive subtype called HER2+ and hormone negative. I had a fairly small tumor (1.3 cm), but upon additional scans we realized it had infiltrated at least 4 of my lymph nodes under my arm. When diagnosed, I was probably the fittest I’ve ever been, I was a healthy young woman. I exercised multiple times a week, I cared about what I ate and was busy tending to my three very young boys. I found the lump myself shortly after my third was born and the probability that my lump was in fact malignant was about 2%. 

 Yet, here I am, a 36 year old wife, mom to 3 young boys, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and now a survivor of cancer, and a patient who was told my tumor was just simply the product of bad luck. My journey through this awful disease has been hard, impossible at times, but with one foot in front of the other I’ve gotten to where I’m standing now. In 14 short months I’ve overcome 16 rounds of chemo, 16 cold caps, a lumpectomy and a sentinel node removal, an anaphylactic reaction, MRIs, cat scans, mammograms, 3 biopsies, ultrasounds, hospitalizations, countless IVs, 17 rounds of antibodies and 30 rounds of radiation. 

 I can’t say I’ve done it all gracefully or without tears. I can’t say it hasn’t tested me or that I’ve tackled it without wanting to give up sometimes. It’s without a doubt been the hardest year of my life. The blessing at the end of my cancer road is that my prognosis is a good one, but the fear will always live on. However, I have promised myself to live life to the fullest and appreciate every moment. CANCER CAN’T TAKE MY DREAMS!    

Israel's Story:


 In 2017, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. I had a spine surgery to remove a plasma cytoma, chemotherapy, radiation, bone marrow biopsies, Pet Scans, CT Scans, blood platelet transfusions, and stem cell transplant. 

 I am now in remission and on maintenance therapy. The doctors thought my wife and I would not be able to conceive a child due to my diagnosis, but right after I was diagnosed we got the best news ever that we were going to have a baby. I am a husband and a father to a beautiful 11 month old girl! G-d answered our prayers!!! CANCER CAN'T STOP ME! 

Jaime's Story:


 I am a wife and mother of two beautiful children. In 2014, I was diagnosed with germ cell ovarian cancer at the age of 26. Listening to my body and being my own advocate led me to an early diagnosis at stage 1C. I met with an amazing specialist in Lebanon, New Hampshire and decided on a treatment plan best fit for me. I went through four rounds of treatment. Each round consisted of three types of chemotherapy, requiring five days a week for five hours a day. 

 Being away from my kids was the hardest part of all. I was blessed to have my family and friends by my side throughout the entire four month process. Without them I don’t think I would have gotten through as well as I did. I have been cancer free for over four years! It was not easy at first getting back to my normal life as I thought it would. Anxiety got the best of me and started to take away my spirit, but I soon realized I can’t let it beat me. I had to search deep in myself to rise up for my family and I. I’m proud to say I’m in a better place now than ever! CANCER CAN'T TAKE AWAY MY SPIRIT!

Suzan's Story:


 Becoming a two time breast cancer survivor has given me a different outlook on this thing we call LIFE! I live it to the fullest, spending time with family and friends, trying different things and enjoying every single simple thing God gives us. CANCER CAN’T HOLD ME BACK!

Camryn's Story:


 In 2015, when I was only 8 months old, my mom found “my bump", which was a tennis ball sized mass of Neuroblastoma. The doctors said, “we’ll just removed it and it won’t come back.” So they did, but the cancer was tougher than they thought, and it started to grow back. After 5 cycles of chemotherapy and another surgery for tumor removal, all before I was 2 years old, the cancer is now gone! 

 I am 5 years old and have been in remission for 3 ½ years! I love playing hockey, soccer, basketball and spending time with my parents and two older sisters. CANCER CAN’T COMPETE WITH ME! I am too strong!! 

Anne's Story:


I've always been extremely healthy so I was in a state of shock when I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer in 2012. I had just run a half marathon and an ever growing lump under my arm had me quite concerned. After meeting an oncologist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, it was determined I would need to immediately start 16 weeks of chemotherapy. I was determined to keep running despite my treatment. Some days all I could do was walk a mile, but my determination did not waiver. In the 12th week of chemo, I once again ran a half marathon. It wasn't fast, but I was able to finish with a big smile! Two surgeries followed the chemotherapy, and next on my treatment plan was six weeks of radiation. Once again I was determined to run another half marathon. With the support of my family, I was able to complete the half marathon during my fourth week of radiation. Just under my "five year warranty" while training for a different race, I felt a pain in my ribs. It turned out I had three tumors that had fractured my ribs along with tumors in other bones and in my lungs. Following a biopsy, my oncologist gave me the grim news that I had stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. There are a variety of treatments but no cure. Despite my diagnosis, I have competed in a 24 hour skateboard race in Florida for the past six years. And I use my racing as a personal fundraiser to give back to Dana Farber for supporting my active lifestyle and providing compassionate care to me over the years. CANCER CAN'T stop me from pursuing my athletic endeavors!

Barbie's Story:


When you live with cancer, sometimes you are just “waiting for the shoe to drop.” I promised myself that I would not live in fear. Cancer cannot dictate the decisions I make or force me to live a complacent life. 

When I was 25 years old, I was finishing up my graduate degree at NYU in clinical nutrition and I was experiencing chest palpitations, which doctors attributed to my stress and anxiety with finishing a Master’s degree. But I knew my body was telling me something was wrong. After a chest x-ray and two physician appointments, it was deemed that I had a cyst on my thymus gland. I would have surgery to remove it because if it grew it could affect my heart. So, one week after I finished my program, I scheduled to have laparoscopic surgery. Once I was in the operating room and the surgery had begun, the doctor came out to ask permission to take out a malignant tumor that was on my thymus gland. I woke up 11 hours later with a four-inch incision in my chest and metal wires fusing my sternum back together. I had no idea what had just happened, but it felt like a boulder was sitting on my chest. The surgeon was confident he had removed all of the cancer and, after much deliberation, I had adjuvant radiation therapy, five days a week for five weeks. I finished my last treatment on my 26th birthday, just two weeks after getting engaged. 

Life went on, I didn’t live in fear. I married my best friend in Newport, RI, visited beautiful parts of the world like Hawaii and Lake Como, got a black and white labradoodle to accompany me on my runs, helped others become the healthiest versions of themselves as a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, and, the absolute best thing, had two amazing and healthy children (ironically, both were born on Good Friday two years apart). 

In the fall of 2015, when Sebastian was just six months old and Benjamin 2.5, I became very ill. I suffered from insomnia, crippling back pain, muscle twitching, sweating, and sudden weight loss. I can distinctly remember laying down in between counseling my patients and just crying in pain. After countless doctors’ appointments, physical therapy, chiropractor visit’s, various medications, I had a CT scan of the chest and a lung biopsy. My cancer had returned and metastasized to my lung. I had a thoracotomy in February of 2016. They removed 8 tumors, one large one that was resting on my spinal nerve which was causing my back pain. We thought the worst was behind us, but we had no idea what lied ahead. 

My health continued to deteriorate when I got home. The muscle twitching, sweating, insomnia and weight loss was getting worse instead of getting better. In the month of February, I would return to the hospital multiple times and yet, no one could figure out the mystery of my deteriorating health. I was given every test imaginable and every medication. Nothing was working. Two weeks after my surgery, doctors opened me up again – thinking that I had a metastasis in my stomach, but there was nothing there. My family and I were broken, battered, and desperate for an answer. 

We gathered all my information and went to another hospital – Memorial Sloan Kettering. Within one week, my oncologist diagnosed me with a rare autoimmune disease, Morvan syndrome, which was triggered by my thymoma. I was hospitalized on Good Friday (if you can believe that) and received IVIG therapy. I would visit the “chemo suite” for infusions every two weeks for months, and when I still wasn’t getting better, we switched my infusions to something unconventional. In August of 2016, I finally started to feel a little better. I gained weight weekly the muscle twitching subsided, and I finally got a good night’s sleep

I would continue to get better each month and, in gaining my strength, I felt like I had a new chance on life. I will never forget my first car ride to Starbucks – the radio blasting, the wind on my face, again I made a promise to myself, I refused to live in fear. I would live each day with meaning and purpose. 

Fast forward to today, I haven’t had a treatment for my autoimmune disease in over a year! They never thought I could last that long, but I have. I am still living with cancer and have been watching it for the past four years. My most recent scan shows very slow growth of several tumors, but no new spots or spread. My team says it’s amazing news and we won’t intervene until we really have to. I like to think that my healthy habits have helped me to control cancer. Additionally, I have a very slow-growing cancer. Down the road, I will likely need another surgery, but until then I will continue to live life. I can’t lie – it is hard accepting that you are LIVING with cancer. Some days are harder than others, but I try to focus on the fact that I am living relatively pain free and my cancer doesn’t prevent me from being active with my kids or doing my job. I continue to work and am currently getting my plant-based culinary certification. What’s more, I have challenged myself physically more than I ever have – shout out to Beachbody trainers Jericho and Amoila!

Cancer Can’t make me live in fear.

Matt's Story:


In 2021, I was working long hours through a pandemic and as we all trudged through life, I had taken on way too much. I had placed everyone’s concerns in front of my own. I finally sat to get a haircut one day and the barber pointed out a large bump on the back of my neck. After weeks of seeing doctors and testing, I was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive hard-tumor cancer that attaches to muscle. It is typically a juvenile cancer and I was 40!

The shock to my wife and I, as we were raising three boys, made us feel numb and sometimes we could not believe we were going through it. I immediately started with 7 sessions of chemo over the course of 3 months and then 6 weeks of radiation. Every scan was tough and never showed improvement. When they removed the tumor, doctors informed us that the treatments had not really worked. We were officially on the rollercoaster that is cancer care. I then went on an aggressive form of chemo for the next four months to make sure that there was nothing left in my body.

Over the course of 2022, I have received clean scans and I am at the 1 year mark. As I have begun to find my footing again, I have found a new perspective. No longer will those outside forces affect me and my family, because you only get to raise your kids once. The ones you love want you on the sidelines or on the couch watching movies. So I am taking care of myself,

so I can better help take care of my family.