Survivor Stories


Brian Trainor

It was on January 7th that Penn law student Brian Trainor, a healthy and active 31 year old with no known symptoms had a sudden seizure. Brian was rushed to HUP, where he received a CT scan and MRI, which uncovered a 2.5 centimeter tumor on the left frontal lobe of his brain.

Brian decided to get several opinions on his potential diagnoses, and quickly chose Penn Medicine's.. read more


Annalisa Meier

During her week at college orientation at Columbia University in late August 2008, Annalisa Meier, an outgoing, self-reliant teenager, first noticed that she wasn't feeling well. She began having vivid nightmares and experienced an onslaught of headaches. In her first regular class, September 2, 2008, her jaw began twitching uncontrollably. After class, Annalisa made her way back to.. read more


Andrew Vartanian

Immediately after being told by his primary care physician that the Abramson Cancer Center is one of the best cancer institutions in the country, Andrew Vartanian made his first appointment. After standard treatments did not work, Andrew's medical team at Penn decided to try a relatively new drug, Erbitux®, a genetically engineered antibody that targets a natural protein on.. read more


Tanya Zekovitch

By the age of seven, Tanya Zekovitch already understood what it was like to be a cancer patient after being treated for Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. So when she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in the summer of 2000, when she was still only in her early 20's, she felt lucky to find that Penn's Abramson Cancer Center offered patient support specialits.. read more


Edith Christmas

Edith Christmas lives up to the giving spirit of her last name. While caring for her ailing sister, Edith ignored the pain she was experiencing. By the time she went to the doctor, her colonoscopy revealed cancer. In addition to the first-rate medical treatment Edith is receiving at Penn, she is enrolled in a special program of the Abramson Cancer Center, which arranges for.. read more


Kristi Elder

Kristi Elder lived cancer free for 12 years after treatments in her mid-20s for a rare cancer. While coming to Penn for routine follow-up, a staff member recognized that Kristi could benefit from our survivorship program. In Kristi's first visit with our Living Well after Cancer program, she and the Director, Linda Jacobs, PhD, CRNP, simply talked for over an hour about her life. Kristi.. read more


Nicholas Martell

Nicholas Martell was first diagnosed with prostate cancer more than ten years ago. He was healthy for many years after being treated with radiation therapy. Nick recently experienced a recurrence of his cancer. Physicians at Penn tailored his treatment and enrolled him in a new Phase I clinical trial using laser-based photodynamic therapy (PDT) followed by hormone therapy. This leading edge.. read more


Perry Rothaus

A fifteen-year cancer survivor, Perry Rothaus feels that not enough attention is given to caregivers, and he credits his wife, Judi, with his survival. Judi researched his type of cancer, decided on the Abramson Cancer Center for his care, and and accompanied him on every hospital visit. Having someone to rely on for support during treatments was very important to Perry and since he retired.. read more


Rosalinda (Linda) Madara

Rosalinda "Linda" Madara is a loving wife and mother and works as a florist and wedding planner. However, to the staff at the Rena Rowan Breast Center, Linda is the "Cookie Fairy" During her breast cancer treatments, Linda would bring in sweets each morning for the faculty and staff. Her desserts were such a hit that Larry Solin, M.D., her radiation oncologist, suggested that she write a.. read more


Sallie Nangeroni

In 2003 her doctors found a cancerous brain tumor, estimating that she had a year and a half to live. Sallie Nangeroni wanted the best neurosurgeon in the region. She came to HUP. Sallie was rightfully scared. Her father died of brain cancer when he was just 40 years old, and her husband's brother had just passed away from a brain tumor. At the time she was diagnosed, Sallie just hoped that she.. read more


Todd Sheridan

Todd Sheridan's family members have always supported his love of hockey and were his biggest fan when his team won the Junior A National Championship. They again showed their deep devotion by bringing him to Penn for the best possible cancer care. Todd's physician at Penn diagnosed cancer of the tongue and neck, which had spread to his lymph nodes. A possible side effect raised by his.. read more


Suzi F. Garber

Neuroendocrine Tumor Awareness
A patient's experience with a very rare form of cancer

Suzi F. Garber, of Reading, PA., a neuroendocrine tumor patient at the Abramson Cancer Center, writes about her experience so that others might benefit from her story and become proactive advocates for themselves and their loved ones.

For many years, I had been.. read more


Jeanie Taddeo

Battling Cancer While Pregnant

Jeanie, an 8th grade Spanish teacher at Spring Ford Eighth Grade Center, and her husband Phil, a senior manager at Vanguard, absolutely love their jobs and had been happily married for 14 years.

After almost 12 years of trying to have children, they were thrilled to find out that Jeanie was pregnant. We couldn't believe.. read more


Frank McKee

Proton Therapy Treatment for Prostate Cancer

read more


Maryann Volpe

During a relaxing getaway at the Jersey Shore with her family in Avalon, Maryann Volpe was enjoying the final days of summer, when suddenly she started coughing up blood. Maryann immediately knew something was wrong and rushed to the local hospital where she went through various CAT scans and X-Ray tests. Before long, Maryann’s summer came to a frightening end as a 5 centimeter tumor was.. read more


Patients

Education and Support Survivor Stories