MD Anderson is like home to three-time cancer survivor Kenneth Woo.
“I go back and visit the nurses who cared for me. They became part of my family,” says Woo.
In remission for more than 10 years, Woo volunteers with the institution’s myCancerConnection support group, following through on the pledge he and his wife, Clara, made after his second diagnosis to become “a channel of blessings for others for the rest of our lives.”
Woo’s own cancer experience began in 1993, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin disease. After Woo had three rounds of chemotherapy and radiation at MD Anderson, his cancer went into remission. Following that, life went on happily for Woo, Clara and their baby daughter.
About three years later — two weeks before their second daughter’s birth — the couple was shocked to learn the cancer had returned.
“We dived into chemo. I’d exhausted all the radiation my body could stand,” he says.
Once past that treatment, the household returned to normalcy again. Yet in 2003, at age 45, Woo received yet another cancer diagnosis – this time acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
He met the criteria for a clinical trial developed from a pediatric leukemia treatment and began aggressive chemo requiring a month-long quarantine. A stem cell transplant was his best shot at long-term survival. Luckily, Woo’s sister, who happened to be visiting from Hong Kong, was a perfect match.
“My doctor hugged me and said, ‘Kenneth, don’t worry. We’ll get through this together.’ That gave me such comfort, that my doctor was part of a team that would walk with me. I had peace of mind and felt that, though it wouldn’t be an easy road, I’d be OK.”
Today Woo is cancer-free. He’s grateful for the research advances that have allowed him more years to enjoy as a father, husband, brother and son.“MD Anderson is my hope,” he says. “I know that without it, I wouldn’t be alive today.”
When the Moon Shots Program launched in 2012, hearing about the AML Moon Shot was “like winning the lottery” for Woo.“More research means better treatment,” he says. “I hope I won’t need to use that treatment, but I know this will mean a lot to patients who come along later. It’s truly Making Cancer History®.”
What’s your moon shot? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program is important to you.