Sarcoma Patient & Survivor Stories

Ruth Bachman

A cancer diagnosis takes us on a journey. Each cancer journey is a unique one. There is no one right way to face cancer. Informed by my experience with Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma, the most common form of soft tissue Sarcoma.

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Heidi Bright

It all began for me in the oncologist's office in 2009. I got the paralyzing message ... there was no cure for the highly undifferentiated uterine sarcoma. I sat terrified and in shock. I didn't even know what to ask.

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Annette Bonaventura

As a pediatric medical assistant, sarcoma survivor, mentor, advocate, and RIS volunteer, Annette is the definition of inspiring. Her journey has not been an easy one. After two years of severe leg pain and multiple misdiagnoses, Annette was diagnosed with MPNST in 2015

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Oliver Carefull

I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in my left femur after 6 months of increasing pain and a charming but worsening limp. After some intensive research and analysis by my now wife Mary we made a treatment plan that would maximize chances of survival by making the most aggressive moves early.

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Aaron Conley

At the age of 24, Aaron Conley spent the majority of his days striving to improve his business, Conley Spray Foam Insulation (located in Albia, Iowa), which he owns and operates with his father and brother.

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Maggie Cupit-Link

If you need proof of the old adage “to truly understand something you must experience it first-hand,” look no further than Maggie Cupit-Link. As a Ewing’s Sarcoma survivor, Maggie has been able to convey her sarcoma journey uniquely as she served as a 2015-2016 Sarcoma Scholar at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.

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Dick DeBlieck

On Friday the 13th, 2010, I received a call from a surgeon informing me that I had “an aggressive, high-grade cancer.” As a healthy 59 year-old man training for yet another 26.2-mile inline skating marathon, this came as both a shock and a surprise.

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Perry Ford

There was no doubt I was leading the good life and I tried to take care of myself by watching my diet, exercising, & not smoking. In college I played collegiate basketball and tennis. After graduation, I was lucky enough to marry the love of my life Kathleen.

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Sarah Friedman

At the end of June 2011 I began to experience horrible lower back pain. I had recently started working out, so I figured I pulled something. I went to my local doctor twice, where they gave me strong medications to control the pain, but nothing seemed to help.

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Christin Garcia

I've always been a hiker - and a thinker and a writer - but not so much a patient. I do not wish to declare pain or limitation. I’m a minimalist, not an alarmist. There’s nothing much wrong with me: BUT, there’s a lump beside my knee that’s bigger than an egg, and it hurts when I sit for long.

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Lisa Griebel

As Jan thinned and trimmed my hair, we talked about our friend Hilary who had just been diagnosed with both breast and kidney cancer. She was in mid-sentence when she stopped and said, “You know that it has gotten bigger,” referring to the lump on the back of my neck.

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Jody Johnson

It all started when I gave birth to my daughter. When I went in for my six-week check, I had told the doctor that I have a bump in my leg. He briefly glanced at it and said, “It should go away in six months.”

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Kraig Kuusinen

After having pain in my let leg for a few months, I was diagnosed with osteo sarcoma on April 3rd, 1986. At no point during the treatments, tests and side effects did I think I would not beat this cancer.

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Bob Laurenzo

I was diagnosed with a sarcoma in my upper right groin in December of 2006 and had surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering in January of 2007 and then had 38 rounds of radiation. Initially, no one was sure exactly what I had until final diagnosis at MSK.

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Jan Maudlin

My sarcoma journey started on a staircase in Aloha Stadium in January 2001. We were on vacation and had attended the Pro Bowl. Coming down the long staircase after the game, all of a sudden I slid/fell/stumbled down the stairs!

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Sarina McNamara

“Most twenty-four year olds are lucky and they don’t even know it,” said 24-year old Sarina McNamara. After going through seven rounds of chemotherapy, Sarina said she’s learned to appreciate the simple things in life, “I appreciate my eyelashes and the way they protect my eyes.”

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Miranda Mead

Miranda Mead was flying through life, a busy student at Wayzata High School who played in the band and was at fifteen a rising cross country running star. Then in the fall of 2015 Sarcoma inserted a speed bump into her life.

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Grace Nelson

Grace’s story begins late in 2008, when she noticed a lump on the bottom of her foot. She saw a doctor and began undergoing tests to find out what it was. After having the lump biopsied, Grace and her family learned on January 8, 2009 that she had Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer.

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Kevin O’Keefe

Kevin O’Keefe is a husband, father, grandfather, friend, volunteer and a long-term synovial sarcoma survivor. He has chaired the Party in the Park for two years and has served as a volunteer for Rein in Sarcoma for six years.

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Chelsey Olafson

It was the week before my husband and I celebrated our first year of marriage. It started off as a regular day, but now, January 6th, 2015, is a day I will never forget. I was at work when my doctor called to tell me my tumor was malignant. I had a rare form of cancer.

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Mary Anne Oldford

I was born to survive. Before I was born, I almost lost my life when my mother had a fibroid tumor surgically removed while I was still in the womb. Later, as a 5-year-old, I was diagnosed with polio, paralyzed, and told I would never walk again.

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Alison Olig

I remember the night I walked into my parents’ bedroom at 10 o’clock and announced with fear and force, “I have cancer.” They looked at me as any parent would with a 13-year-old daughter who was perfectly healthy and extremely active. But I had found a lump, and, for whatever reason, I knew what it was.

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Julie Rose

I grew up in a small southern Minnesota town, and when my parents took me to the doctor because I had a lump that kept growing. I was diagnosed with cancer - specifically Rhabdomyosarcoma. It was 1977 and I was 4 years old.

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Mike Schurhamer

Sometime during 2006 I began to notice my left calf was often sore. The sensation was not pain but a dull ache such as a Charlie horse in a muscle would give. I tolerated this feeling for 6 or 8 months thinking it was a lingering effect of a bruise to that calf a year or two earlier.

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Jean St. Pierre

My name is Jean St. Pierre. I was diagnosed with a Sarcoma called Epitheliod Sarcoma in September 1995. It all started when I developed a lump on my right hand in 1987.

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Brad Sauve

I just want to share with you what happened to my face, I feel more comfortable if you know. Back in 1993 a lump grew on my left mandible and I went to the Twin Cities and had it removed, it was a cancerous tumor and it destroyed most of my mandible.

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Allan Swartz

It was January of 2008 and I had turned 65 the year before. I had been incredibly healthy all my life, with the exception of one night, I hadn’t been in a hospital as a patient for over 60 years.

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Elizabeth Wipper

September 2010 - I have just begun my journey. I am not sure the first time I felt my lump, but I do remember the first time the alarm bells went off. It was Sept. 12, and I had been having neck pain and headaches for a while.

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Natalie Wolf

My name is Natalie Wolf and I am 19. In August 2010, I was busy getting ready for my freshman year at the University of MN, College of Biological Sciences. I was really looking forward to college and pursuing my dream of a field in genetics.

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