Former City of Hope patient JD Dudek has surpassed many expectations during the past few years of his life. In addition to continuing to manage a successful San Diego consulting firm and riding in the 2004 Ride for the Roses with cycling champion Lance Armstrong, he won a battle that is often the hardest one anyone can face in life: beating cancer. In appreciation, he and his family members have made a generous gift to City of Hope.
Dudek's health crisis began in 2003 when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a form of cancer that affects the lymphocytes (white blood cells) and lymphocyte-producing cells in the bone marrow. On Aug. 25, 2003, Dudek started receiving radiation in preparation for the bone marrow transplant, which took place on Sept. 3 of that year. Dudek’s brother, Dave, happened to be a perfect match and served as his bone marrow donor.
During his treatment, Dudek received an e-mail from world-renowned champion cyclist Armstrong, who offered his encouragement. Armstrong also invited him to ride in the Ride for the Roses, a cycling event that celebrates the efforts of the 2005 Peloton Project to raise funds and awareness for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. This e-mail, along with a photo of Armstrong and Dudek, can now be seen hanging in Helford Clinical Research Hospital at City of Hope.
After completing radiation therapy and transplantation, Dudek left the hospital to stay in isolation in a bungalow on campus where he could receive outpatient treatment. Exceeding expectations, Dudek left isolation and was out of Hope and Parsons Village in record time.
To show gratitude for the extraordinary care he received at City of Hope, Dudek, along with his sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and John Van de Grift, donated $250,000 for the rehabilitation gym on the sixth floor of Helford Hospital.