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Stories of Inspiration

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

  • Ryan Nullmeyer

    Ryan Nullmeyer: Listen When Your Body is Trying to Tell You Something

    Ryan Nullmeyer has a message he wants to share with others when it comes to colorectal cancer – it is no longer a disease of the older population. Diagnosed when he was 35, Ryan cannot emphasize the importance of listening when your body is trying to tell you something and recognizing the symptoms of early-onset colorectal cancer. While screenings should start at age 45, raising awareness among younger adults is key to catching the disease at an earlier and more treatable stage.

    “When you see symptoms, get them checked out,” Ryan said. “Things could have turned out very differently for me.”

    Ryan Nullmeyer
    Colorectal Cancer
  • Candy Friday

    Candy Friday: Finding Joy Through The Trial

    Candy Friday, a vibrant 62-year-old woman, faced a daunting challenge in 2021when she was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), a form of breast cancer. She sought the expertise of Michelina Cairo, M.D., a medical oncologist, and together they navigated the challenges of her treatment, focusing on her physical, mental, and emotional health. Candy found solace in gardening and discovered a sense of community and support in Pink Fury, a dragon boat team exclusively composed of female breast cancer survivors and fighters. Through her journey, Candy learned the power of resilience, finding solace in nature, and the strength of a loving community.

    “You seek out a group like that, thinking you're just going to get maybe a little comfort here and there but what you create is so much more. It’s truly like a family,” Candy said.

    Candy Friday
    Breast Cancer
  • Alicia Mooty

    Alicia Mooty: A Journey of Resilience and Hope

    At 49, Alicia Mooty faced colon cancer in 2019. After successful treatment, she was hit with endometrial cancer in 2021. Multiple surgeries and complications followed, but Alicia's positive attitude and the support of her medical team helped her through. Genetic testing revealed Lynch Syndrome, prompting her sister to undergo preventive measures. Alicia is grateful for her family's support and the dedicated team at Texas Oncology. She continues to face her challenges head-on, determined to live life to the fullest.

    “As anxious as I was feeling for yet another diagnosis, I could just see the light at the end of this long tunnel,” Alicia said. “I knew I would make it there.”

    Alicia Mooty
    Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer
  • Leroy Carrion

    Leroy Carrion: A Detective's Battle Against Cancer and Crime, Inspiring Courage and Resilience

    Leroy Carrion, a seasoned detective with the San Antonio Police Department, dedicated his life to solving crimes and bringing justice to his beloved community. In June 2021, he encountered a daunting and different kind of challenge when he was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. This unexpected diagnosis, for the robustly healthy 53-year-old, would test Leroy physically and emotionally. But like cracking a criminal case, he applied determination and mental fortitude to see his way through his cancer journey.

    “Things happen in life that is God’s way of sending you to the left or the right. So whichever way you are lead, you fight. You fight like hell,” Detective Carrion said.

    Leroy Carrion
    Colon Cancer
  • Anita Smith

    Anita Smith: Three-Time Cancer Survivor finds Positive Outlook after Challenging Years

    Anita Smith has overcome breast, lung, and colon cancer, as well as caring for her diabetic husband who died of COVID-19 and her mother. Throughout her journey, Anita maintained a positive attitude and focused on recovery. Anita is now a caregiver for her mother, but she prioritizes her own health. Her story is a reminder to take care of oneself.

    “There’s no time like the present to take care of yourself. Life just gives you all kinds of surprises,” Anita said. “Some days are better than others.”

    Anita Smith
    Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer, Lung Cancer
  • Sharon Beck

    Sharon Beck: A Lesson in Determination and Positivity

    Eighty-eight-year-old Sharon Beck, retired teacher and metastatic breast cancer patient, participated in a clinical trial for an investigational oral selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD) and found success. Clinical trials provide access to leading-edge treatments, but older patients rarely choose to participate due to various factors. However, Sharon was willing to participate in a clinical trial. Her doctor, Dhatri Kodali, was amazed at her willingness to participate in the clinical trial and her incredible support system in her family. Sharon emphasizes the importance of research in cancer and clinical trials and would do it again if the opportunity presented itself.

    “It made sense that we were going to have to do something a little out of the ordinary since it’d spread throughout my body, but I was willing to do anything“

    Sharon Beck
    Breast Cancer