My elbows were sore,” Loryn Nicolodi remembers. “Other than that, I was perfectly healthy.”
A few years before, she had traded a career as a commercial actress for the busy life of a full-time mom. (“I went from selling minivans on TV to driving one in real life,” she laughs.) A little soreness was nothing special for the mother of two active young children.
Except that the soreness spread from her elbows to her wrists, and wouldn’t go away. Loryn’s doctor referred her to orthopedic and rheumatic specialists, but none could identify the problem.
|Loryn Nicolodi knows “there’s nobody better” than City of Hope ... thanks to your support in the fight against cancer.|
Further tests finally identified the culprit: In February 2006, Loryn was diagnosed with a critical case of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Worse, she was “Philadelphia chromosome positive,” a genetic abnormality that made her prognosis particularly poor.
Loryn began chemotherapy at her local hospital right away. But her doctors knew her best chance of survival lay in a bone marrow transplant (BMT).
“I was at a fine hospital, and they wanted to do the transplant there,” Loryn recalls. “But my friends and family kept asking me, ‘You’re going to go to City of Hope, right?’”
“They raved about how wonderful Dr. Forman was,” she continues. “I read about him and knew he was the right person to perform my transplant.”
“Such incredible care”
Stephen J. Forman, M.D., City of Hope’s Francis and Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment of leukemia. Loryn couldn’t have put herself in better hands.
She made her first visit to City of Hope in April, and an immediate search began for a compatible bone marrow donor. By June, a close match was located, but Loryn was suffering from a complication of her treatment and was too sick to receive the transplant. Ironically, the delay gave her team time to find an even closer match.
“City of Hope never gave up,” Loryn says admiringly. “Even when they found a donor who was almost perfect, they kept looking for one who was even better.” She finally received her BMT in July 2006.
“I spent most of the next 100 days in the hospital,” Loryn says. “I had lots of little complications and infections. But I received such incredible care.”
BMT “is an amazing process,” she continues. “They break you down to destroy the cancer, then build you back up again. They look after you physically, nutritionally, emotionally ... I was as comfortable as I could possibly be under the circumstances.
“They even have someone who will come around and play cards with you, if that’s what you want,” she laughs.
Today, Loryn has resumed her active lifestyle. But she maintains close ties to City of Hope.
“I’m very excited by the T-cell research City of Hope is doing,” she says. “It’s incredible the ways City of Hope is developing to fight cancer.”
As described in previous issues of HopeCONNECTION, City of Hope researchers led by Michael Jensen, M.D., are uncovering ways to genetically modify T-cells from a patient’s own body, turning them into supercharged cancer fighters. Reinjected into the patient’s body, they could destroy cancerous cells with minimal effect on the rest of the body.
“That’s what City of Hope does,” Loryn explains. “There’s nobody better at bone marrow transplants or at helping you beat cancer. I do not think I would have survived if I hadn’t gone to City of Hope.”
Your faithful support has helped City of Hope become a world leader in bone marrow and other celltransplantation therapies. You empower the ongoing research that will lead to cures and allows us to maintain the standardsetting level of care patients like Loryn receive every single day.
Please visit the online donation form below to send another cancer-fighting gift today. Any gift you send will be DOUBLED by the special matching grant from Office Depot!
Donate now >>