Rodi and Bob Franco, of Bellaire, Texas, are the proud parents of Michael, who was successfully treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) while a patient at MD Anderson. A Rice University graduate, Michael now is a Ph.D. student in applied mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, and is married to his college sweetheart, Fran. The Francos are so grateful to MD Anderson that they are making an annual donation to honor and celebrate their son's good health.
When our son, Michael, was feeling exhausted and having trouble focusing during his senior year at Rice University, his girlfriend, Fran, insisted that he see a physician at the student medical center on campus. Michael's blood work indicated leukemia. With the Rice physician's referral, we rushed him to MD Anderson's Emergency Center. That's where we met Dr. Tapan Kadia.
Dr. Kadia steadily and clearly explained that Michael's health situation was dire. He ordered the first of many bone marrow aspirations and admitted Michael to ICU immediately to begin chemotherapy under observation.
Days later, Michael was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and Dr. Kadia introduced us to our clinical trial team. Our only hope was that Michael tolerated and responded to a clinical trial that MD Anderson designed for young adults with ALL. Michael would undergo almost three years of chemotherapy, with the most intense treatments in the first eight months.
Amazingly, Michael was an "early fast responder." And, although he had many negative side effects, he persevered. During his treatment, Michael graduated from Rice with a double major in math and applied math and worked for BP in its high performance computing center.
Today, Michael is a Ph.D. student in applied math at UC Berkeley. Michael comes home several times a year to confirm his continued remission.
l journey started with his unwavering confidence and optimism, sustained by the support of Fran and all our friends and family. We believe in MD Anderson's world-class research and collaborative care and are so grateful to Dr. Kadia and our clinical team.
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