Groundbreaking clinical trial saves B.C. woman’s life

BC Cancer Foundation donors essential for current and future research

In the summer of 2017, Allison Kelly was living a full and active life. It wasn’t until she completed a strenuous back-country hike that the 36-year-old registered nurse started to notice a pain in her leg. Chalking it up to muscle soreness, Allison left for a lake getaway with her twin sister. It wasn’t long before she noticed her leg swelling.

Upon her return home, Allison made a visit to the hospital where they confirmed it was a blood clot.

Unbeknownst to her, that clot was the result of restricted blood flow due to a large ovarian tumour.

Allison’s life quickly became a blur of tests and appointments followed by immediate surgery to remove the mass. During surgery, the clinical team found evidence of further spread. After additional scans and pathology studies, Allison was diagnosed with Stage IV clear cell ovarian cancer.

On her 37th birthday, Allison received a call from BC Cancer to say that she met the criteria to participate in a groundbreaking clinical trial: Checkpoint Inhibitor Immunotherapy for patients with advanced disease for which there is no curative therapy.

Allison received her first dose of immunotherapy on Sept. 15, 2017. Six weeks later, her tumours had shrunk by an incredible 50 per cent.

Every scan thereafter showed continued shrinkage, and 18 months later a PET scan showed “no evidence of disease.”

Allison hopes her story inspires others who may be facing a similar situation.

“Participating in this trial is my way of helping other women who will face this diagnosis, by providing hope that outcomes like mine are possible,” she says. “I am living proof that the research being done in immunotherapies at BC Cancer is working.”

Dr. Anna Tinker, Allison’s medical oncologist at BC Cancer, specializes in the treatment of gynecological cancers. She says the support of BC Cancer Foundation donors is an important catalyst in fuelling current and future research.

“Without donor support I think many of the successes we’ve seen would not have occurred,” she says. “We’re on the brink of some major changes and advances in the treatment, detection and prevention of women with gynecologic cancers and continued support helps ensure they can move forward.”

Despite the challenges we’re facing at this time, cancer won’t stop. The BC Cancer Foundation won’t stop either and is committed to changing the outcome for the 5,545 British Columbians this year who will be diagnosed with a women’s cancer, like Allison.

While her check ups with Dr. Tinker may look a little different these days as most have gone virtual, Allison continues to receive world-class care at BC Cancer where her treatments are administered every four weeks.

“Thanks to BC Cancer, I have a future,” says Allison. “I don’t know what it will look like, but I know it involves living life to the fullest.”

To learn how you can help, please visit www.bccancerfoundation.com

BC Cancer FoundationCancerHealth and wellness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Evacuation order and alerts issued for properties in Cawston area

Flooding in region results in State of Local Emergency

Rain in Sunday forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Environment Canada calling for 15-20 millimetres in regions

Arena served Summerland for 26 years

Warm winters meant short ice seasons in early 1950s

Environment Canada cancels storm alert for Princeton

Rain and some thunderstorms still expected overnight

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

Old Okanagan sausage factory catches fire

Fire crews respond in full force to Oyama blaze on Pelmewash Parkway

Vernon videographer captures thunderstorm

See the ‘best bits’ of Saturday’s storm

Dyer: I left my heart in the desert

Kristy Dyer is a columnist for Black Press Media who writes about the environment

RCMP seek suspect in armed robbery at Salmon Arm gas station

Police believe suspect entered convenience store prior to covering face with mask

Horoscopes for the week of June 1

Weekly horoscopes by Morgan Fava

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Kootnekoff: Re-opening to a new normal

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, an Okanagan based-law practice

Detour in place for construction on Summerland road

Crews working on sewer along portion of Victoria Road North

Golden Wine Ninjas brings positivity – and wine – to community

The group was started by Jolene Wood on May 13 and has already amassed over 500 members

Most Read