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COLUMN: This cancer patient's fundraising efforts are paying hope forward

Posted at 8:20 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 10:46:51-04

You have cancer.

They are three words that live large in the mind and memory of anyone who’s heard them.

This week’s “Positively Cincinnati” is about a woman who heard those words and has been on a mission to fight her multiple myeloma diagnosis ever since.

But there's more to her story: She’s also on a quest to help researchers find the medical answers that will make a difference not just in her life, but in many others, as well.

Simply put: Amanda Toms is a warrior in the fight against cancer. While she was waiting for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve a treatment that would improve her quality of life until the next treatment — and potentially a cure — she raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and did so all while she was waging her own personal health battle.

It’s an outward focus, and it’s one key component in what it will take to ultimately defeat the formidable foe that is cancer.

Toms' story got me thinking about all the people I know who are in on this fight. As someone who heard those three words myself, it makes me grateful to know there’s an army backing up the bright minds looking for solutions. It's the definition of hope, and it’s all around us.

Just at WCPO, a number of my co-workers are biking in Ride Cincinnati with Team Sherry Hughes. As you know, Sherry is a breast cancer survivor, and research is part of the reason why.

Sherry Hughes Ride Cincinnati.jpeg

“What’s inspiring is I get a chance to participate in helping others get the necessary medicines and treatments they need, by raising money for research that finds solutions to help people build a better life," Sherry recently told me. "I’m benefiting from research, and someone paid that forward for me. I want to do that going forward until there’s a cure.”

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve done my own biking in the fight against cancer. It’s a small contribution, but it’s one among many. And that’s the point: We’re in this together.

WCPO 9 anchor Kristyn Hartman in bicycling gear as part of a fundraiser for cancer treatment research.

As I mentioned, Toms' fundraising supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and ultimately funneled research dollars to the therapy she received. One of the doctors working on that research (which I talk about in the television story connected to this article above) was from Cincinnati, was educated in Cincinnati, and took his skills to the world, ultimately making its way back to Amanda.

It just goes to show you how you can have a hand in helping the immediate world around you.

Amanda said it best: “I am a great example of what research does, and it gives me hope for the future.”

It gives her hope. It gives her doctors, nurses and therapists at Jewish Hospital and Oncology Hematology Care the ability to offer that hope. And hope is the heartbeat of life.