05/06/2005

Cancer Center Program Receives Accreditation

Patients of Blood and Marrow Transplant Program to Reunite Saturday

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. –West Virginia University’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center Blood and Marrow Transplant and Hematologic Malignancy Program has been awarded three-year accreditation for all services and facilities by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT). 

“The program was originally accredited by FACT in 2002, and the
reaccreditation is an endorsement that our program continues to be
recognized as a center of excellence for hematopoietic stem cell transplant,” said Solveig G. Ericson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the program.

Forty-five-year-old Harold Gould, a patient of the program, formerly of Fairmont, travels the country for his construction job, but was happy to make a trip from Florida to Morgantown recently for a check-up with Ericson.

“She’s my best friend,” says Gould. “I’ve had some bad experiences at other facilities, and I don’t trust my health care to anyone else but her.”

In 1998, Gould came to WVU, where he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – the fifth most common cancer in the United States. It develops in the lymphatic system (tissues and organs that produce, store and carry white blood cells that fight infections and other diseases). In Gould’s case, a biopsy indicated advanced cancer in his lung, spleen and liver.

Gould had an autologous transplant (one in which the patient is the donor).  He enjoyed his recovery period at WVU’s Ruby Memorial Hospital, where he befriended patients on his floor.  “I became known as the Cruise Director,” he said.

Londia Goff, R.N., B.S.N., was a staff nurse on the BMT Unit when Gould was a patient. “We dubbed him the Cruise Director because he visited the other patients and gave encouragement and support. He was always motivating fellow patients to hang in there, walk in the halls, and stay active. Harold's story is a remarkable testimony to perseverance.”

Gould said he is blessed because right after his transplant he still had some cancer, but a PET scan two weeks later, showed no sign of disease. “The Lord told me it is finished, and I feel great now,” he said.

“It will be seven years this September that I had my transplant,” says Gould.  “I call myself an over comer, rather than a survivor.”

Gould and other patients will gather for the 12th annual patient reunion from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Days Inn Convention Center in Flatwoods.

 “My message to other patients is that cancer is not a death call.  It’s a wake-up call for us to remember that life is a very, very precious gift.”

- WVU -


05-088
For more information:
Sherry Stoneking, Cancer Center, (304) 293-4599
sstoneking@hsc.wvu.edu
sls:-05-06-05

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