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Stories of Inspiration

Stories of survivors who've inspired us with their determination and hopeful spirit.

  • Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan: Acting Teacher’s Character Shines Through Following Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis

    Mike Flanagan had just landed a professorship in Houston to help shape young actors when he was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Most meaningful to Mike, was how the team at Texas Oncology designed his treatment schedule so he could stay in the classroom and live his life at home too. With his cancer fight ongoing, Mike has a positive attitude and knows it is okay to not always be brave and strong.

    “ Colorectal cancer shouldn’t be a taboo subject. The more open and willing to talk about your experience you are, the more can be done for you, and the more you can do to process it.“

    Mike Flanagan
    Colon Cancer
  • Jay Jaszkowski

    Jay Jaszkowski: Combining Surgery and a Sense of Humor To Fight Cancer

    Jay Jaszkowski is convinced his sense of humor and outgoing personality helped him get through a diagnosis of paranasal sinus cancer, a rare cancer that affects the nasal cavity and the sinuses. The tumor in Jay's nasal cavity was so large his entire nose had to be removed. He felt disfigured and isolated, but after receiving a prosthesis, his life was transformed. Cancer-free for more than a year, Jay has not lost his sense of humor and is an inspiration for others with missing body parts and deformed limbs.

    “I just couldn’t believe I had cancer. I know everybody says that, but I could not believe it.”

    Jay Jaszkowski
    Nasal Cancer
  • Donna Tally

    Donna Tally: Finding Purpose in Beating Cervical Cancer

    Donna Tally is a fast-moving mother of four who puts the needs of her children before her own. However, when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, Donna turned inward and found her purpose though cancer survivorship: advocating for cervical cancer screenings and promoting awareness among women like her.

    “I’m so thankful to Texas Oncology, that these doctors, radiologists, nurses, etc. give their lives to help people and do it with a smile on their face. They make the patient feel seen and understood.”

    Donna Tally
    Cervical Cancer
  • Sydney  Townsend

    Sydney Townsend: New Mom Up for the Fight Against Leukemia

    New mom Sydney Townsend thought her aches and pains were typical postpartum issues. It turned out she had advanced leukemia. With boxing as a part of her normal fitness routine, Sydney was up for the fight.

    “ I felt confident that the treatment I was getting was the best available, and that it was right here at home, and those two things together: powerful.“

    Sydney Townsend
  • Delila Cramer

    Delila Cramer: Three-Time Cancer Survivor Serves Her Community While Fighting Multiple Myeloma

    Three-time cancer survivor, Dee Cramer, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2022 and underwent chemotherapy with Ines Sanchez-Rivera, M.D., at Texas Oncology–El Paso Grandview. An experienced teacher who is passionate about education and volunteering, Dee is a testament to the power of a strong support system and how the community she diligently served for years rallied around her.

    “Shortly after my diagnoses, my physician took my hands and said, ‘Put your boxing gloves on and fight this with everything you have’", said Delila Cramer.

    Delila Cramer
    Multiple Myeloma
  • Robert Walker

    Robert Walker: Defying the Odds of Living With Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer

    In 2020, 68-year-old Robert Walker was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer, which typically has a poor prognosis with less than five percent of patients expected to survive more than five years. Through good days and not-so-good days, Robert maintained a positive attitude. Robert has responded so well to every component of treatment from chemotherapy to surgery, that he has far outlived the traditional survival for patients with stage IV pancreatic cancer as he continues to fight this deadly disease.

    “When you are faced with problems, you face it head on, and you give your best fight,” said Robert Walker.

    Robert Walker
    Pancreatic Cancer