Why A Support Team Is So Important After A Cancer Diagnosis



I was diagnosed with an advanced stage aggressive breast cancer on the afternoon of my 43rd birthday.  After many doctors appointments for opinions on treatment and prognosis, appointment after appointment I was given the same prognosis: Poor. I was not certain which class party for my 3 and 5 year old boys would be my last but it appeared to be imminent.

Support Team

I built my “A team” of physicians and started a local clinical trial for my chemotherapy.

The Day I Met Red Devil Chemo

After two years of chemotherapy, surgery and five weeks of radiation, I felt like I could start to breathe again. Two months later my much younger friend with the same type of breast cancer as me learned her cancer had metastasized. I immediately went to the internet in hopes to find her a clinical trial. Although I was not able to find a trial for my friend, I found a Phase I breast cancer vaccine trial that could possibly help me at the Mayo Clinic.

While trying to comprehend the language of the trial, the logistics of frequently getting to an institution a few states away, and the overwhelming thoughts of how we were possibly going to be able to afford it, I found Lazarex Cancer Foundation. I knew the moment I spoke to their Patient Navigator, Karen Weixel, and then to Tami Keeler, their Patient Services Manager, I knew I was going to somehow make it into this promising trial.

Employer Support

With the never ending support of my employer and managers at United Airlines, and with the assistance from Lazarex, I successfully completed the two year breast cancer vaccine clinical trial in Minnesota. I will still try and go to the Mayo Clinic once a year for their care but it no longer will have anything to do with the spectacular trial I was in. Was in… wow! It is ironic to me that United Airlines who afforded me so much flexibility, compassion and support during my diagnosis and treatment, is a grantor to the Lazarex Cancer Foundation – the very foundation that afforded me the opportunity to participate in such an exciting trial.

How to Walk In Faith When Life Throws You Curveballs

Clinical Trial Results

The trial I participated in has been so promising it has since moved onto Phase II. We had 21 participants in our Phase I portion and we all had the same type of aggressive high recurrent-risk breast cancer. We are all currently disease free! What a Blessing.

I am forever grateful to so many – especially to United Airlines and to Lazarex Cancer Foundation.

I’d love to write more but I have class party snack ideas I am planning for my now 8 and 10 year old boys!”

-Christy Mattey



I am inspired every time I read Christy’s story and every time a talk with her. She was and still is an advocate for herself and others. I only wish that I had this blanket to wrap her and my other friends in while they went through cancer.

Thank you, Christy for participating in clinical trials and for sharing your story with us.

Why A Support Team Is So Important After A Cancer Diagnosis

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