Our family's journey with Lazarex began nearly 9 years ago with a diagnosis of our family member, Dan, of stage 3b non small cell adenocarcinoma of the lungs. Dan was an ultra marathon trail runner, non-smoker and all around healthy 43 year old guy. He was having difficulty catching his breath while running, which ultimately led him to the diagnosis. He was given the news with the caveat of "get your affairs in order." Lazarex was in the beginning stages of their mission. We were fortunate enough to know Dana and our first and only call was to her. Literally in less than 1 month from diagnosis, Dana and her team at Lazarex had identified a clinical trial, got Dan accepted, and put him and his mom on a plane! Because of the cancer, Dan couldn't work, which lead to his medical benefits being in jeopardy. Lazarex took the financial concern and pressure of trying to fight this disease completely off the table. They financially supported Dan's participation in the clinical trial and recognized the importance of having a family member present through this journey. The impact of participation in this clinical trial was immeasurable. Yes, clinical trials will no doubt lead us to a cure for cancer. Enabling the brave warriors, or VIP's as they're known at Lazarex, to find and participate in these studies, is the road to a cure, but we also saw another side of this gift from Lazarex. The gift of hope. Fighting through this diagnosis and disease is incomprehensible, but because of Lazarex, Dan never lost hope. The constant support and encouragement from Dana, Tami, Karen and the entire team at Lazarex empowered him and gave him the will and the courage to keep fighting. There is no doubt that because of Lazarex supporting Dan in the clinical trial, we were given more time with him. This time was quality time filled with love and hope. We are eternally grateful to the amazing team at Lazarex and are proud and honored to support their mission.
09/19/2017 I have been a donor and a volunteer for Lazarex since they began. The commitment of the Lazarex team to serve their clients is unwavering. Over the years I have witnessed firsthand the clients lives ( and the lives of their families ) that have been touched and saved because of the efforts of this organization. It has been an honor to donate and support Lazarex and impact these courageous warriors who are fighting and winning their battle against cancer!
I have been a donor and a volunteer for Lazarex since they began. The commitment of the Lazarex team to serve their clients is unwavering. Over the years I have witnessed firsthand the clients lives ( and the lives of their families ) that have been touched and saved because of the efforts of this organization. It has been an honor to donate and support Lazarex and impact these courageous warriors who are fighting and winning their battle against cancer!
No other foundation reimburses patients for expenses associated with participation in clinical trials. This is one of the main reasons why they choose to not participate and thus give up a chance to extend or even save their lives. Based on my experience with Lazarex they offer hope at a time when it is needed most. These are people who truly care!!
My husband Mike was the inspiration for this foundation. He was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer at 44 yrs. old and passed away when he was 46, leaving behind 3 young children and myself. Our experience with a clinical trial gave us hope and time that we would not have had. My awesome sister started Lazarex to help end stage patients and their families find and participate in clinical trials. As far as I know Lazarex is the only organization in the USA that does what they do. It has been a great blessing to be able to help others who are in a similar situation. Go Lazarex!!
Lazarex Cancer Foundation 08/15/2012
Dear EMVG01 Thank you for your review and sharing some of your personal experience. Mike and you inspired us in so many ways. It's a wonderful legacy.
I have been on a clinical trial for almost three years that requires me to drive about 250 miles every two weeks from Northwest Ohio to Cleveland. I am exceedingly grateful to be on the trial, which covers many, but not all, costs. Meals on the road, the hotel night we need every three months when there are early morning appointments, wear and tear on the car, gas, tolls, copays, meds for side effects. I don't think anyone really thinks about the costs of being on free trials - except for Lazarex. We appreciate more than anyone can know the help we've received from this excellent organization.
Ten years ago, we became aware of Lazarex through a friend. We have been a supporter of their efforts to connect patients with therapies that offer hope for them and for all of the people that might face this challenge in the future. Lazarex has supported friends, family members and anyone who has reached out to them when everyone else has given up. We know that there is a cure out there and Lazerex offers crucial pathways towards that cure.
I was diagnosed in 2013 with an aggressive uterine cancer. Contacted Dana from Lazarex to find out if she knew of any clinical trials and ask her to find out what she could about my cancer. She was awesome and timely getting back to me. I didn't need any further services from Lazarex as I was completely covered by my insurance fortunately. But I tell everyone I can about this wonderful organization. I am an oncology nurse and am cancer free going on 3 years!
After having donated to this organization, I was fortunate to get to know some of the people who make up the team who work so hard to make it happen. These people are truly dedicated to their cause and work tirelessly to bring so much aid to as many cancer sufferers as they can. They fill a gap in the fight against cancer that few groups try to tackle. The assistance they provide to the cancer patients that have run out of options, and to link them to companies running clinical trail, is a daunting challenge for anyone to take on. This is a worthy effort that, like many others, could use your help.
I am proud to be a continued donor to an organization that provides the needed funds that are not covered by medical insurance or the pharmaceutical companies. Without this organization, many people already suffering from the horrors of cancer, would not have the opportunity to participate in a possible life improving clinical trial
I've volunteered and attended numerous events for Lazarex because I truly believe in what they do. They are such a unique foundation in that they guide their patients through the process from Step 1. You are not just a number when you call, they know all their clients (and their families) personally. It's such a comfort to know you have such a strong support system in the cancer fight. I will continue to be an advocate for Lazarex - it is a one of a kind organization run by one of a kind people!
When I learned about Lazarex, I was immediately drawn to the organization because of their background and story. Their tenacity and passion for giving not only treatment, but hope to their patients is one of the most important things their organization does. The whole team at Lazarex is full of warmth and love. Lazarex is an invaluable organization that gives so much to those who need support in their time of need.
Lazarex Cancer Foundation 08/15/2012
Thank you for sharing our passion with others. A big thank you for writing a review!!
I have volunteered for Lazarex in the past. This is an amazing organization that prides itself in putting the needs of patients and their families first. I admire their philosophy. They give hope to people who still have so much they want to accomplish in their lives. As a daughter of a cancer warrior, Lazarex gave me hope. They gave my mom hope. I will be forever grateful to the women and men that make Lazarex possible to so many people.
This is the only organization that has the patients voice! Taking care of late stage cancer patients get help in getting into a trial and staying in the trial is life changing! LCF does this and more
Approximately 2 1/2 years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive Stage IV cancer. After two recurrences using chemotherapy and radiation treatments, I went to MD Anderson in the hopes of enrolling in an immunotherapy clinical trial. (I was unable to get into any trials at local hospitals.) I wasn't sure how I was going to afford the expense of traveling back and forth between Michigan and Texas every two weeks, but then I was referred to Lazarex. They specifically help patients who need to travel for clinical trials. Lazarex's assistance not only helped alleviate some of the financial burden, but also lessened the stress I was feeling. They have been so kind and easy to work with. I am very grateful that I have been given an opportunity to extend my life by being able to travel out of state to other hospitals that can help me.
Two years ago, on the day before my 69th birthday, my Arizona surgeon told me the results of my annual CT scans. My liposarcoma had recurred, and was inoperable and metastatic. I had shared my body with this very rare tumor since the original diagnosis in 2001.
The Arizona surgeon told me that the then current standard treatment involved a chemotherapy that was effective only 20-30% of the time. When I asked for a prognosis if the chemo failed, he told me, "Two years."
My husband and I went to M. D. Anderson in Houston to find out about potential clinical trials. I was quickly enrolled in a Phase I targeted therapy trial that required traveling between Phoenix and Houston every three weeks. The costs of air fare and hotel reservations were overwhelming. Fortunately, my husband discovered the Lazarex Foundation.
I applied for and was accepted into the program. Without Lazarex, I wouldn't have been able to participate in this life-saving trial.
Initially, the tumor shrank, but it began to grow after 13 months. I was transferred to an immunotherapy therapy trial in July, 2015. So far, it has kept the disease stable. And, Lazarex continues to assist me with costs.
Here I am, 30 months after I was given a two-year prognosis, alive, doing well, and feeling great. I live a normal life, except for trips to Houston.
Thank you, Lazarex for giving me two years (and counting) of happiness, fun, family and love. You are truly a blessing!
Having to make a journey from Chicago to Houston every two weeks is a great financial burden. Lazarex was mentioned to me, by chance, on a shuttle journey between the hotel and M.D. Anderson for treatment for my metastatic Stage IV colon cancer.
After finding Lazarex online, we found the application process to be simple and straightforward, and all questions were answered with respect and very clearly.
Today we received our first reimbursement which will be used wisely to pay some of our travel expenses.
We are very grateful for this and will now be able to breathe a little easier and can continue with my treatment schedule with a sense of peace of mind.
The past 5 years of cancer for my husband have been difficult. The past 2.5 years he has traveled 240 miles round trip every other week for treatment in a drug trial. Lazarex has been the one bright spot.
How Lazarex Cancer Foundation Helped Us
By Mike & Sarah Snyder
My cancer journey began with a sore left knee in the mid-90s while living in Denver. After a variety of tests and minor surgery to correct the problem, I was diagnosed with a specific type of bone cancer called chondrosarcoma. My doctor told me it had come from the bone disease that had me in and out of Shriner’s Hospital as a kid. The treatment for the bone cancer would be a knee joint replacement for my left leg.
The surgery was done in August 1996. It seemed to work and I enjoyed four pain-free years with no worry about the bone cancer returning. Then in early 2000, my doctor determined that my artificial knee was coming loose, not an uncommon occurrence, and she would need to do a resection, which involved removing the old artificial knee components and replacing them with new ones. The operation was successful and once more, we thought we were done with bone cancer.
After a series of job-related moves, we ended up in Albuquerque, New Mexico in late 2004. We had been long-time visitors to the state over the years and were thrilled to finally call it home. In early 2005, I returned to the doctor, concerned about a persistent tenderness and swelling in my left ankle. The news wasn’t good. The swelling was from another cancer tumor. This time, the surgery would be the amputation of my left leg below the knee.
The amputation below the knee eventually became the amputation above the knee as several infections made keeping the remaining part of my artificial knee a painful waste of time. The battle wasn’t over and I endured several more tumor removals from what remained of my left leg. Things got worse when additional tumors showed up in my right elbow and my lungs.
Every time my doctor removed one malignant tumor, it agitated the benign tumors nearby and they started growing. In the spring of 2011, my doctor said there wasn’t anything else he could do. He recommended I switch to hospice-type care, because the tumors were growing too fast for him to successfully remove them surgically. He told me I needed to accept the fact that bone cancer would likely take my life. He estimated I had about 5 years to live. It was an answer I couldn’t accept and a path I wouldn’t take.
The search for treatment options was made more difficult because my cancer is so rare. There are about 1.6 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year resulting in more than 580,000 deaths; approximately 1600 each day. Out of those 1.6 million cancer cases, roughly 2000 will be bone cancer and of those, only 250 will be Chondrosarcoma-my type of bone cancer; amounting to a little more than one-one hundredth of one percent of all new cancer cases each year.
Despite the long odds, we dove in and began searching for alternative treatment options. After four months of research, I found myself at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, enrolling in a clinical trial for a drug called IPI-926 for my chondrosarcoma.
There was one catch to being a clinical trial patient that we hadn’t really counted on. The initial phase of the trail would require me traveling to Houston every two weeks for blood work and exams. Every other visit would require overnight stays for CT & MRI exams. Under the FDA guidelines for the clinical trial, ALL of the work had to be done at MD Anderson to ensure the study’s integrity.
Quite simply, if I couldn’t travel to Houston, I couldn’t participate in the trial. The initial rounds of travel nearly wiped us out; requiring a 2nd mortgage on our house and causing us to go through our savings and an inheritance my wife Sarah had received from her Mom. Friends held some fundraisers for us, but that only covered a month or so.
If we couldn’t find some help paying for the travel, I would have to withdraw from the clinical trial. Since surgery was no longer an option for me, giving up the trial would mean giving up period. We couldn’t move to Houston and no other options existed anywhere close to home. There didn’t seem to be any choice left except walk away from treatment that was literally saving my life.
Then a friend referred me to the Lazarex Cancer Foundation. Lazarex’s mission was unlike any other cancer-related organization I knew about. Rather than raising money for research, Lazarex dedicated itself to helping people on clinical trials travel to the treatment they needed; people just like me.
I nervously went through the application process; filling out the paperwork and connecting my clinical nurse at MD Anderson with the Lazarex staff to get specific questions answered about my treatment. And I anxiously waited to hear back from them.
About a week later, my cell phone rang. Lazarex had approved my application for assistance. They would cover my travel expenses so I could continue my treatment. I couldn’t completely believe it. They were going to help me. I could still go for my clinical trial. I didn’t have to surrender to cancer after all.
As soon as I got off the phone with Lazarex, I called my wife, Sarah, and shared the news. We were both fighting back tears of relief. My treatments could continue and it wouldn't ruin us financially because the travel would be covered.
And it would continue to be covered, regardless of where I was being treated. When I had exhausted all treatment options at MD Anderson, we were able to look for other clinical trials. We began focusing on ones with promising outcomes that the big cancer treatment centers were ignoring. But we needed the trial to focus on my specific type of cancer. With the help of the folks at Lazarex and a local oncologist in Albuquerque, we found just such a trial.
The drug being tested focused on a gene mutation called IDH-1, which can cause regular cells to mutate into cancer cells. The drug was supposed to stop the gene mutation from happening and based on that, would also prevent the healthy cell from changing into a cancer cell.
The drug is called AG-120 and its method of seeking out specific cells is a brand new treatment approach called targeted therapy; meaning the drug only attacks cancer cells, not healthy tissue. This method is being used across several different types of treatment for a variety of cancers. So far, the results are very promising.
For me personally, AG-120 has slowed down the growth of my tumors to a point where my doctors tell me my tumors are stable. They're not shrinking, but they're not growing either. It's no small step to go from a terminal diagnosis to one that says my tumors are stable, but I've been able to make that step, thanks to the help of research from clinical trials and the travel help from Lazarex enabling me to get to those trials.
There are now options for different approaches and types of care that can take away cancer, but not your dignity. These options include clinical trials for new drugs and treatments; options that mean hope and a chance for a future that didn't exist before.
Because of those options and the hope they offer, Sarah and I must thank Lazarex Cancer Foundation for helping me and so many others get to those clinical trials for new treatments. The help they offer isn't just saving my life and the lives of others. It's giving our lives back so we can live. Because cancer doesn’t get to win; not now, not ever. Thank you, Lazarex Cancer Foundation for making that possible.
I have a rare bone cancer called Chondrosarcoma. Three years ago, it progressed to the point of being inoperable and was spreading. My doctor at the time said I had five years or so to live. Thanks to Lazarex, I've been able to participate in several clinical trials of new drugs designed for my type of cancer. The medicines have extended my life expectancy a lot and the latest trial drug I'm taking has the potential to completely stop my cance from spreading.
The trials I've been enrolled in have all been out of town and required regular travel from my home in Albuquerque to hospitals in Houston and San Antonio. Without Lazarex's help, I would have had to stop the treatments because the cost of travel was bankrupting us. Stopping treatment would also mean losing my life to cancer, since there were no other treatment options.
But thanks to Lazarex, I can continue participating in clinical trails that are literally saving my life. We have hope and the chance for a future that includes living a long life. Thanks to Lazarex, my cancer doesn't get to win, I do.
I cannot say enough great things about Lazarex and its unmatched work in connecting advance stage cancer patients to viable FDA approved clinical trials proven to extend lives. Their recent participation in Vice President Biden's "cancer moonshot" was testimony to the power of a Foundation deserving of my donations and yours!
I was first exposed to the work of Lazarex Cancer Foundation nearly three years ago. By connecting end-stage cancer patients to FDA clinical trials and facilitating participation by covering travel costs for each patient and a companion, Lazarex has to date helped extend the lives of more than 1,000 people. Amazing! When I am considering a non-profit to support, I look for the ones that have little or no administrative costs. Thanks to the generous support of an anonymous donor, 100% of the monies donated to Lazarex directly benefit patients. In the past year, I've referred two friends and family members to Lazarex. Given the dire circumstances of their diagnoses, I am thrilled to note that the staff at Lazarex could not have been more responsive. It is my intention to give generously to Lazarex on an ongoing basis and I invite others to join me.
I am a staff member and donor to Lazarex and get an inside look daily at what an awesome organization this is- full of integrity, dedication, and unwaivering focus on the goal of being the last hope of advanced-stage cancer patients, and closing the gap in access to cancer care. Patients will always be treated with the utmost respect and dignity, and donors can be confident every penny is being stewarded wisely and carefully, and that because of our generous founders, every penny goes directly to patient services. My husband and I personally give of our time and finances to Lazarex because we couldn't be more confident of the value of the services and the integrity with which the organization is run. If I could give 10 stars, I would!
I have worked extensively with Tami K. @ the Lazarex Cancer Foundation. With my "chemo brain" always lurking around, she provides me with the utmost tender care via the phone. I'd like to recognize Tami for her outstanding work with cancer patients and the services Lazarex provides us.