Donna McNulty Reinbolt is the patient advocate for MD Anderson’s lymphoma SPORE and co-founder and president of the Houston chapter of the Lymphoma Research Foundation. The National Cancer Institute selected her to serve as the national lymphoma advocate at its July 2011Translational Science Meeting in Washington, D.C.
In 2007, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. I recall sitting in the waiting room at MD Anderson ― bone thin, no hair, crazy nauseated with a warm blanket wrapped around me and thinking, ‘If I ever get out of this place alive, I’m going to do something to help those folks who come after me.’
With the daily care of the attentive professionals at MD Anderson, I came through my illness beautifully and spent the following year traveling and visiting with friends and family. But I never forgot my promise.
Together with Drs. Anas Younes and Peter McLaughlin and others, I co-founded the Houston Chapter of the Lymphoma Research Foundation. Dr. Younes invited me to serve as the patient advocate of the MD Anderson lymphoma SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence, an initiative of the National Cancer Institute). It’s been my great honor to serve the medical professionals, lymphoma patients and their families these past few years. What was one of the worst crises of my life has transformed into one of the most rewarding experiences of my life: supporting MD Anderson’s research and its remarkable patients and staff.
Promise invites cancer survivors to share their reflections. Email Promise@mdanderson.org.