Cancer research helps Kelowna grandmother

“I sincerely do believe in the power and purpose of research,” says Sharon Daley.

Kelowna’s Sharon Daley has been affected by cancer for most of her life, losing family members and being diagnosed herself.

But for the past 18 months she has been living cancer-free and remains optimistic and confident in clinical research.

“I sincerely do believe in the power and purpose of research,” says Daley.

A daughter, mother and grandmother, Daley, 68 lost her father to lung cancer in the 1960s – a type that today, thanks to research, is curable. She also lost a granddaughter, Paige, to brain cancer in 2003 at the age of 10, who had also been admitted to a clinical study that is likely to have prolonged her life.

In the late fall of 2011, Daley herself was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Within a month of receiving the news, she had undergone surgery and by the spring of 2012, Sharon was treated with both chemotherapy and radiation at the BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior.

There, she was cured and given a clean bill of health. But just before her four year mark of being completely cancer-free, she noticed some irregularities, swiftly booking an appointment with her gynecologist. In the appointment her doctor noticed a mass, and after being biopsied, the results concluded it was, in fact, cancerous.

With two MRI’s less than two weeks apart, her oncologist, Dr. Juanita Crook, expressed to Sharon she was not a candidate for surgery, but thought she would be an ideal candidate for another treatment – High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy – part of a new clinical trial.

Sharon made the decision to take part in the clinical trial because of her faith in her oncologist and the BC Cancer Agency.

“Having that faith that my oncologist and gynecologist were there for me and everybody at BC Cancer was there for me – it was a very personalized experience.”

The treatment itself involved very invasive preparation and was quite lengthy. Although extensive and intensive, Daley says she would do it again if she had to.

Sharon finished her treatment within three months, eradicating the tumour and she is now 18 months cancer free. She continues to have regular check-ups and feels quite confident again.

“My granddaughter, Paige, has been my strength behind me,” says Daley. “She was the one in my corner encouraging me – I did it, you can do it too.”

The BC Cancer Foundation is raising $600,000 to support the expansion of the BC Cancer Agency’s clinical research program – to save more lives like Daley’’s.

The expansion will allow researchers to make breakthroughs that will directly benefit British Columbians – roughly 77,000 of whom will require cancer care this year.

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