‘House of love in their hearts': The story of a new mom and City of Hope
January 13, 2016
| by Letisia Marquez
City of Hope makes a difference, one patient at a time. And in doing so, we often make a difference in the lives of many, many other people – loved ones, family members, even strangers and community members gathered for spiritual reflection.
Recently, in a sermon titled “Angel’s Work” at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, the Rev. J. Edwin Bacon Jr. told parishioners a story about Elizabeth, a pregnant Florida woman who had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. The daughter of one of Bacon’s high school friends, Elizabeth gave birth to a healthy son and received aggressive chemotherapy treatment for four months without success. Her health continued to decline. She was sent home with no hope for a future with her son.
Elizabeth’s father contacted City of Hope to ask if they could help. Doctors and researchers carefully analyzed her case, and their clinical trial protocols, or study guidelines, and found one for which she was good fit. It was a stem cell transplant protocol specifically designed for people like Elizabeth, whose leukemia was not in remission.
Bone marrow transplants are highly complex procedures, and many institutions simply don’t perform them if the patient is not in remission. City of Hope, however, has done more than 12,000 transplants, and has one of the largest, most successful programs of its kind and focuses on helping patients whose disease is not in remission.
“Elizabeth and her father Don were on the plane the next day,” Bacon said.
After a series of test and procedures, Elizabeth was declared eligible, or healthy enough, for a transplant. In more good news, her brother’s stem cells turned out to be a perfect match for her.
Elizabeth received the transplant in November and, in late December, she underwent a biopsy to assess whether the procedure had worked to get her into remission.
City of Hope's pathology department analyzed the biopsy results quickly and had them ready on Christmas Eve afternoon: Elizabeth was in remission for the first time since she was diagnosed. Her physician at City of Hope immediately called the family.
Elizabeth’s father shared the news with Rev. Bacon, who quickly incorporated the story into his sermon to be delivered that evening.
Bacon told other stories that evening about people who faced life-threatening or difficult situations but instead of being fearful, turned to love, guided by angels.
“There are people all over the world with the house of love in their hearts …,” he said.
At City of Hope, it’s a philosophy that’s put into action every day.
For tips, tools and resources on how you and your family can address the many physical and emotional issues that can arise during and after cancer treatment, please visit our Living with Cancer site.