Thanksgiving Day, 2012: My family was forever changed when we learned that my mom, Jennifer Clanton, 54, had stage IV lung cancer. She was seemingly healthy and loving life when we received this devastating diagnosis. She immediately began chemotherapy and radiation treatments at another hospital, which worked for a while.
But just over a year after her diagnosis, we found ourselves in the targeted therapy department at MD Anderson. Under the care of Dr. David Hong, Mom began a clinical trial. Her scans remained clear for nearly two and a half years.
In March 2016, after experiencing headaches for several weeks, Mom was diagnosed with leptomeningeal disease (LMD), a devastating cancer of the cerebrospinal fluid that occurs as a metastatic cancer in a small percentage of patients. We were heartbroken. Mom was told she had about eight weeks to live. She passed away seven weeks and three days later on May 23.
After Mom died, I began searching for a way to help fund more research for LMD. When I could not find any organizations dedicated to raising money for this cause, I felt compelled to take on the challenge myself. With the help of a dear family friend, Heather Grieco, we created the Jennifer Clanton Foundation to raise money for LMD research. In our first year, we raised $7,000, all of which went to the LMD program at MD Anderson. Our goal is to make an annual donation to this program.
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