CINCINNATI - Josie Shuler is tiny but mighty with a positive attitude that's contagious.
When you first see her smiling face you'd never imagine what she's been through. This is her second bout of breast cancer. She has been paralyzed by a stroke, suffers from pulmonary problems, only has vision in one eye and is on oxygen. But that doesn't get her down. She's volunteered at Making Strides and across the Tri-State for the last four years, the hardest four years of her life.
"They will do everything to make me comfortable because I'm triple negative Stage 4 with 8 months. But it did not hamper my fate, so I told them I want my chemo right now," said Shuler.
Schuler fights her health problems by giving back. She talks to other women with cancer and volunteers across the community at everything from Football 101 with Marvin Lewis to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk.
"You cannot sit at home and be sad and worry and be like, why me. Because we are put on this earth to help other people and that's how I dealt with breast cancer," said Shuler.
In August she found out that her breast cancer moved to her brain. Her body is currently recovering from the radiation. Next week Schuler is starting a clinical trial for an experimental chemo at UC Health's Barrett Cancer Center.
"I know that there's a lot of women that I know, that have kids that they know they're triple negative and they know there's no hope for us. So through me, and me entering in this trial, I can help a lot of people, a lot of women and a lot of kids will have their moms. And that's my goal," said Shuler.
There are hundreds of clinical trials taking place at UC Health. We talked to Dr. Mahmoud Chariff at UC Health about why it is good that patients know about the current trials being offered.
"I strongly encourage all patients to talk to their oncologist to see what is available. Data shows that patients who participate in clinical trials actually have better outcomes that patients who do now. Even if an individual patient does not respond, even a negative result or a non-benefit improves our understanding of the cancer and its treatment. And that will further improve our treatments in the future. Clinical trials are how we discover new medications, most of the medications we have available now came from trials," said Dr. Charif.
Dr. Charif also said the Tri-State patients are lucky to have this type of access. He said some patients travel hundreds of miles for trials.
Additional clinical trial opportunities cancer be found at a registry created by major academic institutions including UC, called ResearchMatch .
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Nine-year-old Sydney Angle was "everywhere at once" when she was out on the softball field. Kyle Davis, 8, was nicknamed "The Wall" because of his size and presence on the soccer field. JaNae Hornsby, also 9, was the life of the party.