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Patient Testimonials

Patient Testimonials

Gabe OleacheaGabe Oleachea

Not only does 6-year-old Gabriel receive leading research and cancer care at Mary Bridge Children’s Hematology & Oncology Clinic for his acute leukemia, he gets top-notch fashion advice, too. Gabe prefers to dress up for his chemotherapy treatments, because he wants to be just like his doctor. On this particular day, Gabe came to his clinic appointment with a suitcase and several outfits to try and match what Mary Bridge Children’s Pediatric Oncologist and Researcher, Robert Irwin, MD, was wearing. They had a candid conversation about Gabe’s coveted “man tie” options for this day of treatment.

“In the past, only 20 percent of patients would survive Gabe’s type of leukemia. Now, the success rate is 85 percent. Gabe’s on a clinical trial with an exciting new medicine that we hope will continue to improve the success of our treatments,” says Dr. Robert Irwin.


Charles UrrutiaCharles Urrutia

When Charles was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, doctors gave him six months to live. Cancer had spread to his adrenal glands, liver, brain and beyond. Treatment options were exhausted, but research offered hope – and Charles’ medical condition matched the specific criteria needed to participate on a cancer research trial at MultiCare’s Research Institute.

“I had nothing to lose by getting on the trial and I simply wanted to live long enough to see my daughter’s wedding,” said Charles.

It’s been nearly two years ago since Charles’ medical oncologist enrolled Charles into that cancer research trial and in December 2016, Charles got his wish. At 79 years old and still a very proud father, he attended his daughter’s wedding in Sacramento, California, where he was surrounded by family and friends to toast to life and love.


Susie PharesSusie Phares

Little Susie is now 3 years old with big bright eyes and the personality to match. At first glance, it would be hard to believe she suffers from Dravet Syndrome. This rare, severe form of epilepsy is very resistant to treatment and causes intense seizures that require frequent medical intervention.

Susie experienced her first seizure at 6 months old. Her family would have to adapt to many ambulance rides, emergency room visits, overnight hospital stays and numerous medications to save Susie’s life. In spite of all her treatments, her parents saw the light in Susie’s eyes slowly deteriorate into a droopy, blurry-eyed stare.

A trip to the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Emergency Department changed everything. During one of Susie’s 45-minute seizures, her parents met Steven Phillips, MD, the Mary Bridge Pediatric Epileptologist who was on call for emergencies the evening of Susie’s visit. He would soon recognize that Susie was a perfect fit for an epilepsy research study at MultiCare, for which he was the Principal Investigator. Results were quickly noticed.

Susie has now gone up to five weeks seizure-free, developed speech and her progress only continues. We hope the research we can contribute on behalf of Susie and the other participants will bring bright-eyed children around the world back to their parents.


Anna VincentAnna Vincent

Anna enjoys a seemingly normal, happy life. She is a full–time working mother, wife and daughter who enjoys activities with her family like hiking, camping and dinner gatherings.

Anna has battled migraines for over 30 years — migraines that can cause her to be stuck in bed for a week or longer until the pain subsides. Decades of dealing with this condition meant repeated attempts to find a cure and countless experiences lost with her family. However, in the community where Anna lives and works, a new source of relief emerged through research.

“I became interested in the study with hopes that the research collected would be able to help others,” explains Anna. Anna learned about the Research Institute’s neurology research program and opted to join a migraine study looking for an alternate treatment and hoping to contribute to research that might help other migraine sufferers. She is now able to take a promising new drug to treat her migraines. Thus far, her migraines are fewer and significantly shorter, which translates into more time to enjoy her family, her work and all the special moments in life. There may not be a cure for migraines, but behind Anna’s smile – and her story – is hope.