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My Duke Cancer Story

#MyDukeCancerStory: A Life In Service To Others

Plenty busy with fishing, golfing and grandchildren, Jim Slaughter, a Duke retiree, doesn’t just volunteer because he has the time; he volunteers because, as they say, he has the heart. Diagnosed the day after Christmas 2013 with stage 4 small bowel cancer, Slaughter knows first-hand the challenges...

#MyDukeCancerStory: Melanoma Survivor Thanks Her Dragonslayer

One spring day five years ago, fourth grade teacher Tricia Gallagher felt something like a scab — smaller than a sunflower seed — on her head. She didn’t think much of it. “I thought it was a tick, because my boys and I hike,” said the energetic mother of two active teenagers, “but I had my doctor...

#MyDukeCancerStory: Devoted Mother Creates Meaning From Mourning

We all hope our lives will count—that in some way we will make an indelible mark within our circles, our society and, perhaps, even beyond. But what happens when a promising young life is snuffed out much too soon? For Mary Woodall the unimaginable loss of her son, Christopher "Chris" Cash, at just...

#MyDukeCancerStory: A Fellow Traveler

In December two years ago, heating-and-air-conditioning repairman Jack Walker decided to stop for gas on his way to a Rotary Club meeting. The decision may have saved his life. Tina Escalona, a 51-year-old healthcare marketer, was staring up at the sky, nozzle in hand, when Walker first approached...

#MyDukeCancerStory: Passion for Bacteria Eradication Drives Cancer Researcher

Meira Epplein, PhD, MS, MA, can hardly recall a time when she wasn’t thinking about what she now considers her “life’s work” — researching Helicobacter pylori , the primary identified cause of stomach cancer. The path to getting there, she says, “was a bit unusual.” A co-leader for Duke Cancer...

#MyDukeCancerStory: Research Coordinator Learns Resilience

Hoofing it up the steps and zipping through the halls across Duke’s medical campus, Crystal Cates, MS, CCRP, is a clinical research coordinator on a mission. On any given day one can find her on her way to collect specimens in the operating room, back to the lab to process them or off to see...

#MyDukeCancerStory: Woman of Steel

Roshanda “Wyndi” Smith, who runs a stainless-steel jewelry business, is living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer — staying strong in spirit, even on her weakest days. She said she’s “realistic” about her future, having gone through “the five stages of grief” after she first learned, seven years...

#MyDukeCancerStory: Life After Loss Lands Cancer Activist Sunny-Side Up

Bob Norris was 70 when he was diagnosed with stage 2 lung cancer 14 years ago. A smoker since serving in the U.S. Army in the ‘50s, he quit as soon as he got the news. Feeling lucky to be alive after surgery and chemotherapy, he gently, “without nagging,” implored his beloved wife, Bonnie, and...