Groundbreaking clinical trial saves B.C. woman’s life

BC Cancer Foundation donors essential for current and future research

In the summer of 2017, Allison Kelly was living a full and active life. It wasn’t until she completed a strenuous back-country hike that the 36-year-old registered nurse started to notice a pain in her leg. Chalking it up to muscle soreness, Allison left for a lake getaway with her twin sister. It wasn’t long before she noticed her leg swelling.

Upon her return home, Allison made a visit to the hospital where they confirmed it was a blood clot.

Unbeknownst to her, that clot was the result of restricted blood flow due to a large ovarian tumour.

Allison’s life quickly became a blur of tests and appointments followed by immediate surgery to remove the mass. During surgery, the clinical team found evidence of further spread. After additional scans and pathology studies, Allison was diagnosed with Stage IV clear cell ovarian cancer.

On her 37th birthday, Allison received a call from BC Cancer to say that she met the criteria to participate in a groundbreaking clinical trial: Checkpoint Inhibitor Immunotherapy for patients with advanced disease for which there is no curative therapy.

Allison received her first dose of immunotherapy on Sept. 15, 2017. Six weeks later, her tumours had shrunk by an incredible 50 per cent.

Every scan thereafter showed continued shrinkage, and 18 months later a PET scan showed “no evidence of disease.”

Allison hopes her story inspires others who may be facing a similar situation.

“Participating in this trial is my way of helping other women who will face this diagnosis, by providing hope that outcomes like mine are possible,” she says. “I am living proof that the research being done in immunotherapies at BC Cancer is working.”

Dr. Anna Tinker, Allison’s medical oncologist at BC Cancer, specializes in the treatment of gynecological cancers. She says the support of BC Cancer Foundation donors is an important catalyst in fuelling current and future research.

“Without donor support I think many of the successes we’ve seen would not have occurred,” she says. “We’re on the brink of some major changes and advances in the treatment, detection and prevention of women with gynecologic cancers and continued support helps ensure they can move forward.”

Despite the challenges we’re facing at this time, cancer won’t stop. The BC Cancer Foundation won’t stop either and is committed to changing the outcome for the 5,545 British Columbians this year who will be diagnosed with a women’s cancer, like Allison.

While her check ups with Dr. Tinker may look a little different these days as most have gone virtual, Allison continues to receive world-class care at BC Cancer where her treatments are administered every four weeks.

“Thanks to BC Cancer, I have a future,” says Allison. “I don’t know what it will look like, but I know it involves living life to the fullest.”

To learn how you can help, please visit www.bccancerfoundation.com

BC Cancer FoundationCancerHealth and wellness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Some bystanders with fire extinguishers helped keep the fire under control. Photo courtesy Suzie Thomas
Bystanders keep fire from spreading near McIvor Lake turnoff

‘Just be vigilant and careful,’ says Campbell River fire chief

The Pier Street Farmers Market will once again take up residence on Sundays from May to Septmber at the parking lot across from the Community Centre in downtown Campbell River for 2021. Mirror File Photo
Pier Street Farmers Market returns to Cedar Street parking lot for 2021

…and it’s hoped that the addition of artisans this year will make it even better

Some recommendations from the Downtown Safety Select Committee have been approved by Campbell River City Council, including removing the glass stage covering at Spirit Square. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Council going ahead with removing Spirit Square stage covering

But mayor acknowledges need for ‘welcoming, warm place with support services’

A small fire on North Rendezvous Island is the first wildfire of the season in the Campbell River area. Officials are asking people to take caution when burning during these dry conditions. BC Wildfire Dashboard
‘Conditions are tricky at the moment’ warns Coastal Fire Centre

Small fire on North Rendezvous Island first of the season for Campbell River area

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read