The sound of gratitude and relief came across the line loud and clear, despite the 200 miles separating Lance Cassidy and PearlPoint Cancer Support’s client representative.
“I was sitting in the parking lot about to lose it but I decided to call y’all first and, boy, am I glad I did,” Lance said. Lance had just finished speaking with PearlPoint’s oncology social worker who had told him about a vital transportation grant that would be key to Lance’s participation in a clinical trial treatment for small cell lung cancer.
Diagnosed in October 2012, Lance explained that his symptoms came on acutely.When he began to cough up blood, Lance went right away to his doctor, who took quick action to order X-rays and CT scans and to send Lance to a lung specialist and an oncologist. Lance underwent chemotherapy and was in remission for nearly three months before the cancer returned. The return of the disease meant he had to pursue a more aggressive treatment approach, but the aggressive treatment created low blood counts for Lance and he was forced to stop treatment temporarily.Following his rest and return to appropriate blood counts, Lance’s doctor advised he start a clinical trial. The possibility of a clinical trial offered promise to Lance but making a weekly 400-mile round trip to Nashville was daunting.That’s when Lance called PearlPoint.
PearlPoint’s oncology social worker connected Lance with an organization that grants transportation funding to those who must travel for treatment. When I met Lance to learn about his story and our part in it, Lance told me that his connections with and through PearlPoint changed his outlook throughout his journey. Struggling with lack of strength and energy, Lance stressed that finding PearlPoint, who “connected the dots” for him on to other important resources, offered renewed encouragement and important allies in his fight against lung cancer.
Wearing his signature, beloved Alabama ballcap, Lance, a great-grandfather and avid fisherman, told me it was a priority for him to share the support he found — that’s why he referred others to PearlPoint for guidance and life-changing resources. Lance wished to continue the stories of inspiration by “connecting the dots” for other adults facing the complications of a cancer diagnosis — and his story does just that.
Editor’s Note: It is with great sadness that I learned of Lance’s passing on October 30, 2013. True to Lance’s nature, his wife, Shirley, wished to share his story as originally planned, to encourage others and to offer them hope about our supportive services and finding answers to important questions. Lance’s story is one that will live on in our Journal of Hope series and in the hearts of those of us at PearlPoint who were lucky enough to meet him. –Katharine Ray, Director of Communications & Marketing