Cancer Patient Stories

Patient Stories about cancer

November 28, 2022

UAMS Lung Cancer Survivor Beats the Odds

Marty Trieschmann

UAMS Lung Cancer Survivor in the Healing Garden of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in Little Rock, Arkansas

About 25-30% of patients worldwide with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer die in less than three months. But with talented doctors, advances in treatment and a bit of luck, some patients beat the odds. John Pertuis, 62, is a member of this rarified group of lung cancer “long” survivors. With help from the UAMS…


April 8, 2022

Daniel’s Story: From UAMS Lymphoma Patient to Be a Part of the Cure Walk Coordinator

Marty Trieschmann

UAMS Be A Part of the Cure Walk Coordinator, Daniel Frazier, talks about his experience being treated for cancer at the very place he now works.

Imagine you’re 23 and just landed your first promotion at your dream job. All is right with the world. Now imagine being diagnosed with lymphoma at the same time. For UAMS special events coordinator, Daniel Frazier, cancer was not part of the plan. “Whatever plan I thought I had, a cancer diagnosis was nowhere on…


March 4, 2022

Monticello Doctor Credits UAMS Bone Marrow Transplant for Getting Him Back to Medicine and Life

Marty Trieschmann

Patient Jay Connelley with his UAMS Care Team

Jay Connelley, M.D., a family physician in Monticello, Arkansas, was so used to powering through the fatigue that comes with keeping doctors’ hours that it never occurred to him he might be tired for another reason. It wasn’t until he began experiencing frequent dizziness that he thought there might be more to it. “I was…


January 13, 2022

First Myeloma Center Patient Receives Revolutionary New Therapy, Responds Well

Linda Haymes

Dave and Lori Puente of Elk Grove, California. Dave Puente is the first myeloma patient in Arkansas to receive new chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy treatment, which is only available at the UAMS Myeloma Center in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

Dave Puente of Elk Grove, California, became the first myeloma patient in Arkansas to receive the new chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Myeloma Center, the only medical facility in Arkansas currently offering the cutting-edge treatment.


December 29, 2021

Lung Biopsy Robot at UAMS Detects Early-stage Cancer in Little Rock Woman

Kaitlin Barger

Cynthia Chapman speaks about her experience with the Ion Endoluminal Robotic Bronchoscopy System

A Little Rock woman can now breathe a little easier thanks to new technology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Doctors at UAMS recently activated the first lung biopsy robot in Arkansas. The robot allows doctors to discover and biopsy previously undetectable cancerous nodules in the far reaches of the lungs. Cynthia…


October 15, 2021

Two Sisters Battle Breast Cancer at UAMS

Marty Trieschmann

Sisters and UAMS Breast Cancer Patients Amber Vanaman and April Biggs

Like many sisters, April Biggs and Amber Vanaman have shared a lot as siblings. Just one year apart, they shared a bedroom and clothes growing up in Paragould, Arkansas, and have some of same facial features — definitely the same smile. But they never expected to share a life-threatening disease. Biggs was diagnosed with Stage…


May 28, 2021

Minimally Invasive Brain Tumor Removal Gives Morrilton Grandmother ‘a Second Chance’

Katrina Dupins

Analiz Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D., and neurosurgical resident Marcus Stephens, M.D. perform surgery.

Mary Harris enjoys traveling with her daughters and granddaughters, and the family looks forward to their trips three times a year. And though the pandemic caused them to postpone for a while, they are ready to resume with a trip to Branson in June. In 2016, Harris began having a continued cough and constant bronchitis….


April 23, 2021

Twist of fate Leads to Myeloma Diagnosis for Longtime Survivor

Linda Haymes

“I am blessed to live so close to the Myeloma Center,” said Bennie Utley, 79, of Cabot, a myeloma survivor of 16 years. “It really is a state-of the-art facility.”

A persistent sore spot on his thigh led Bennie Utley of Cabot to ask his family doctor about it in early 2005. “It was about four inches wide and eight or 10 inches long,” Utley, 79, recalled. “He told me I was wearing my belt too tight.” Utley was not satisfied with the diagnosis and…


March 22, 2021

Friends Travel Miles, Bring Smiles as Myeloma Patient Begins Treatment

Linda Haymes

Friends of myeloma patient Christie Mink, 51, of Jonesboro traveled to UAMS in Little Rock to welcome her and her husband Jeffery in an emotional display of support.

On her first day of treatment at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Myeloma Center, Christie Mink returned from a lunch break with husband Jeffery to find one sweet treat awaiting her just outside the doors of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. Eight friends, all wearing black T-shirts emblazoned with “Her fight…


February 8, 2021

Husband and Wife Unite in Battling Myeloma

Linda Haymes

“We have been well taken care of at UAMS,” said Jerilee Gott of Sherwood, Arkansas who is a myeloma survivor along with her husband Ken. “The staff has been outstanding, and we feel we are in very good hands. Our future is very encouraging with the treatment options available for those who go into remission.”

When Jerilee and Ken Gott moved to Arkansas from New Mexico in late 2017 to be closer to their two daughters and grandchildren, she knew she would need regular checkups at the UAMS Myeloma Center. She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in the blood, in 2009. But Jerilee Gott,…



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