2016 – David’s Story

The 2016 CLunger Beats 5000 – 5K Run / Walk

is dedicated to David Broughton

  • Married to Lynn, and father of 3 (Joseph, Megan, and Carolyn)
  • Diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in 1986
  • 25 years later, relapsed with lymphoblastic lymphoma and then ALL
  • Treated at The James by Dr. Rebecca Klisovic and NP Jon Mickle

This odyssey began in November 1986 when I was a junior at Virginia Tech.  I was having trouble climbing stairs and playing pick-up basketball.  During my Thanksgiving break things got progressively worse and my mother, being a registered nurse, pushed for some bloodwork to be done which eventually led to my diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).  That was nearly 30 years ago.  My mother also located a great doctor (Dr. Lorence Gutterman) and after two years of chemotherapy I was in full remission and ready to resume my life.

Over the next 25 years, I married my lovely wife Lynn and we raised three beautiful children, Joseph (21), Megan (19), and Carolyn (13).  We enjoyed attending our children’s many events as well as boating and bike-riding with them.  The honeymoon came to an end 5 years ago when I had repeated sinus infections that would not go away.  This led to a surgery which revealed lymphoblastic lymphoma, a derivative of ALL, in my sinus cavity. The doctors had never witnessed a relapse of over 25 years and I was stunned myself.  I underwent a year and a half of chemotherapy (Hyper CVAD) but unfortunately 6 months later the cancer reoccurred in the form of ALL. Luckily, by the persistence of my doctors, I was able to participate in three different clinical trials over the next year.  The third one was the charm.  It allowed me to go into remission which coincidentally corresponded with the identification of an international donor so that I could proceed with an allogenic bone marrow transplant.  Unfortunately, the remission that the transplant provided only lasted for 10 months.

By this point in time, immunotherapy (blincyto) was my best option. Two months later and I’m in remission again.  I’ve been in remission for 5 months now.  It’s been a long journey and I wasn’t always the best patient but I could have never done it without the love and support of my family and these amazing health care professionals:  Dr. Kelli Cawley and Susie Blatt RN (of Strecker Cancer Center in Marietta), Dr. Rebecca Klisovic and NP Jon Mickle (of James Cancer Center), to just name a few.

Cancer makes you count your blessings and I have too many to count.  It starts with my care giver and wife Lynn who reminds to see the cup half full.

I guess the message through all of this is to not give up.  Treatments are improving all the time.  I was so fortunate that my windows of opportunity opened at the right time for me to take advantage of them. I think everybody facing cancer should be hopeful that we are going to overcome this dreaded disease.

-Dave Broughton