Photo by: Teresa Lee Photography
Residents of Monument, Colorado, Kim and Ed Brandon accepted our invitation to be interviewed for the Fall 2021 Patient Spotlight. Kim and Ed have a son, Joe Brandon, who is 17 years old. Ed is a participant in a Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) study who is finding that the support and compassion of the WSCR-NCORP Clinical Research Coordinator team is vital to his journey, as he fights cancer. (CLL is the most common leukemia in adults.) Our thanks to the entire family for their time and sharing their answers to our questions.
In your own words, please describe the impact participating in a WSCR-NCORP study has had on your life? What made you choose to enroll on a study?
It saved my life–I am now in remission and, thanks to the study, feeling great. I can make it through my day without being exceptionally tired. I sleep better. I have my energy level back and, and most importantly, I’m back to being able to participate in family events. I chose to enroll in the study for a couple of reasons: coincidentally my father-in-law also has CLL and participated in a study in San Diego, with excellent results. So I knew the benefits of participation plus wanted to be able to help others and help further research to one day find a cure. If it wasn’t for WSCR-NCORP and their awesome team, I don’t know where I’d be now–and we can’t thank you enough!
Please share how the WSCR-NCORP team has supported you in your cancer journey?
Both my wife and I loved working with the WSCR-NCORP team. They were always there if I needed a question answered–helped calm my anxiety–reassured me if I was feeling some unknown side effect (e.g., gout), got confused on which medication to take at what time and more. They are also very supportive and very knowledgeable about the treatments and CLL. In a word, they are Awesome!!!
Do you feel that your participation in a clinical trial is helping cancer patients in the future? Is this important to you?
Absolutely YES and YES! I know clinical trials will help cancer patients in the future and I’m proof: one of the trial drugs my father-in-law was on is now considered standard treatment of CLL and was included in my treatment. My participation in this trial was very important to me because I feel it will help others who have CLL and hopefully help us one day find a cure.
Do you feel that participating in a clinical trial has allowed you to take a more active role in your cancer journey?
Yes, it has! It has allowed me to work one-on-one with members of the team. I not only received treatment from Dr. Ali Eghtedar at the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute, but I also had a WSCR-NCORP team member who I was able to speak with and who helped me figure out all the medications, what they did and she answered my many questions. Never ever did the WSCR-NCORP team talk down to me or make me feel like I was just a number in a trial. They are always there for me and always supported me.
What about cancer research, from your perspective as a patient, might our readers not know that you’d like to share?
Both my wife, Kim, and I believe you need to do your research. You need to be your own health advocate. Ask questions. Do research, not only on the cancer, but on treatment options that are available. Explore every option you find–look into support groups, or nonprofit organizations that can help with anxiety and expenses and also look into research groups like WSCR-NCORP that are finding new treatments. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and most importantly, don’t be afraid to participate in research groups and trials. We highly recommend WSCR-NCORP, they can and do save lives!
In closing, the WSCR Clinical Research Coordinator who brought this story to all of us at WSCR-NCORP to share, Alexa DeBord, MS, had the following to say also:
“The most fulfilling part of my job is to be part of success stories such as this. It is incredible to see improvements in our participants cancer outcomes and quality of life. I am inspired by individuals like Ed who prioritize their health, their families, and contribution to cancer research in efforts to improve cancer care.
I am grateful that, through WSCR-NCORP, patients at the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute (CBCI) have additional opportunities to participate in treatment and observational studies for their cancer. We are happy to provide study support, resources, and to team with the incredible treating physicians at CBCI.”