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Stories of Inspiration

Stories of the fighters, believers, and survivors who've inspired us with their determination and hopeful spirit.

  • Nancy Littlejohn: From Vice President to Patient

    For Nancy Littlejohn, a trip to the emergency room with what she thought were symptoms of a heart attack ended up launching a cancer journey that would take her life and career down a path she never expected. Fast forward nine months and Nancy is closing in on her final chemotherapy treatment with Dr. Muffaddal Morkas and her care team at Texas Oncology–Houston Memorial City.

    "Once I understood the extent of my diagnosis, I knew an in-depth conversation with my employers was necessary. Fortunately, they were prepared for it, which was incredibly helpful as I tried to figure out next steps for all aspects of my life, including work."

    Nancy Littlejohn
    Leukemia
  • Shirley Peters: Serving Up Positivity at Work

    Shirley Peters beat her first breast cancer diagnosis in 1999, but at the height of her career, her work life took a turn when her cancer returned. She was working as a district manager and recruiter for 7-Eleven.

    “Cancer isn’t the end of the world and attitude has a lot to do with survival. If I die today, I can say I have had a very full and happy life.”

    Shirley Peters
    Breast Cancer
  • Axel Reissnecker: Outrunning Cancer

    Axel Reissnecker knew from the moment of diagnosis that letting his cancer treatment get in the way of his active lifestyle wasn't an option. So with an unrelentingly positive outlook and the right treatment approach, Axel was about to continue his commitment to endurance running.

    "Treatments we thought were impossible just 10-20 years ago are now possible, whether it's killing the cancer entirely or lengthening your lifespan. So I always say, don't worry too much - a positive outlook is always helpful."

    Axel Reissnecker
    Renal Cancer
  • Fighting Cancer with Colleagues

    Breast cancer patient Mindy Sue Cohen finds support in colleagues who became her biggest cheerleaders.

    "It was incredibly helpful to have female managers to confide in. My co-workers were understanding and accommodating with my treatments."

    Mindy Sue Cohen
    Breast Cancer
  • Barry Halley: Staying Strong Throughout Treatment

    As a military veteran, Barry Halley has always lived a healthy, active lifestyle. But it wasn’t until after serving in Afghanistan that Barry found himself in his toughest fight yet.

    "Don't give in, don’t let cancer win. Don’t let it steal your joy. Always attack life with energy and zest."

    Barry Halley
    Lung Cancer
  • Suzie Oden: Overcoming a Family History of Cancer

    Suzie Oden’s unexpected emergency room visit prompted discussion about her long family history of cancer, Dr. Thomas Gregory recommended genetic testing – a moment that shaped Suzie’s own cancer journey.

    "Many people think cancer is a death sentence, but I never thought it was."

    Suzie Oden
    Breast Cancer