‘As aggressive as cancer is you’ve got to hit back just as aggressively,” said Carl Bittner whose melanoma came back again, and again – and again, over the past 21 years.
Thanks to donors’ investments in cancer research, Carl is still with us today – and he is thriving.
In 2000 Carl was diagnosed with Melanoma, an aggressive form of cancer responsible for 80% of skin cancer-related deaths. Despite being told he had a 10% chance of survival, Carl never lost hope.
Carl’s 21-year journey with melanoma has had many highs and lows. Since his initial poor prognosis and with limited treatment options back in 2000, Carl has endured multiple operations, radiation, and radical treatments. At one point Carl’s T cells were removed from his body, genetically enhanced, and then reintroduced to boost his immune system, a process Carl admits was “brutal” though his body cooperated and responded very well.
Treatments didn’t always keep working however; at one point Carl’s heart monitor registered an arrhythmia and treatment had to be stopped immediately.
Just when there seemed to be no more options, donor-funded clinical research and clinical trials blew open the world of immunotherapy and gave renewed hope to stage IV cancer patients like Carl.
Carl’s wife and three children mean everything to him and he’s now getting to experience all the precious moments life offers. Like walking his daughter Sara down the aisle and seeing his daughter Lisa graduate from nursing school. None of this would have been possible without donors like you.
Thanks to continued donor investment into cancer research, Carl was eventually switched to a newer advancement: targeted therapy. Carl responded tremendously. Not only did this new therapy target only cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone, Carl was finally able to stop intravenous treatment and take pills instead.
Through it all Carl’s wife Ruth has been by his side and together with their family they are creating more memories together. Carl’s life has been full and rich and with you in his corner, the future looks incredibly bright. People like you are the ‘Hope Givers’ and for that Carl is eternally grateful to you.
Learn more about supporting research at CancerCare Manitoba like the clinical trials that saved Carl’s life.