Chuck’s Story

I began my cancer journey as a patient of UPMC 2015. I was 50 years old and out of the blue I was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s follicular lymphoma, an incurable type of blood cancer. After 7 months of chemotherapy at UPMC Passavant and the wonderful care of my oncologist there I went into remission. Unfortunately, it was short lived; my cancer came back more aggressively. During that time our employer-provided health insurance switched and we fell under Highmark. Thank god I was still able to continue care with UPMC for my cancer, I truly believe I am still here because of that. Let me explain: After my relapse I was sent to Hillman to a specialist that tried other cancer-preventing infusions with no luck. With my options dwindling, I was lucky enough to be accepted into a ground breaking clinical trial Car T Cell Therapy last February that sent me back into remission and let me continuing living and enjoying my 3-year-old daughter. I go back every 3 months to my clinical team and will be followed for 5 years for study and to make sure I stay in remission. Now they tell me as of June I can no longer go there. What I am supposed to do? Find a new clinical trial team? I love UPMC and even have done a commercial for Hillman. Every cancer patient like me deals with tremendous financial burdens, physical, mental, social and work related issues every day, and now we have to worry about changing health care teams after years of being treated by them???? Not fair.