Martin Baba - Upper Arlington I am participating in Debbie’s Dream Foundation’s 2020 Advocacy Day as a gastric cancer survivor. This will be my sixth year joining fellow patients, survivors and caregivers in an event that is vital to further progress, breakthroughs and treatment options for patients and their loved ones that have been afflicted by stomach cancer. I look forward to renewing old acquaintances, meeting new participants and recognizing and honoring our lost warrior advocates when we convene in Washington, D.C. I also look forward to strengthening our relationships that we have forged on Capitol Hill. As part of the Ohio delegation, we have enjoyed reliable bipartisan support from many of our congressional members including DDF’s 2018 Congressional Champion, Sen. Sherrod Brown. I am also thankful that my congressional representative, Rep. Steve Stivers, has been a great supporter of our mission for greater stomach cancer awareness and research funding. As an adult I have had a somewhat unique medical history in that I have experienced two different primary cancers. Initially, I was diagnosed and treated for a rare form of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2006; and then I was diagnosed and treated with Stage III-B diffuse gastric adenocarcinoma in 2011. As a lymphoma patient, I had a wealth of resources and options available to me: clinical trials, cutting-edge standard treatment, a vast array of patient resources and camaraderie, and an overall sense that my Stage IV lymphoma diagnosis was treatable. As a gastric cancer patient, I saw that there was a stark difference in terms of patient resources, treatment options and positive outcomes. Most gastrointestinal cancers, including stomach cancer, regrettably remain as the deadliest cancers. Collectively, we can change that unfortunate designation by asking our congressional members to support much-needed funding for this horrible disease. When Debbie Zelman created her foundation, there was no organization specifically advocating for gastric cancer and no one asking our congressional leaders for the impactful federal research dollars that are absolutely necessary for realizing discoveries in terms of diagnosis and treatment. Stomach cancer now has found its footing on Capitol Hill and we need to continue Debbie’s mission by taking bigger strides and leaving a larger footprint as we honor her legacy.
Angela and Dr. Paul Bosela - Copley, Ohio I (Angela) am a stomach cancer survivor diagnosed with aggressive, fast-growing stomach cancer in 2007, at 55. I was extremely fortunate. The stomach cancer had eaten almost entirely through my stomach wall but had not wholly penetrated through and had not spread outside the stomach. I have been cancer-free since after a 70 percent gastrectomy and four cycles of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Following my recovery, I have become an accomplished runner, completing numerous 5K’s, 10K’s, and half marathons, usually winning or finishing near the top of my age group. I ran my first full marathon in 2017 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and finished second in my age group. My husband, Dr. Paul Bosela, is a professor emeritus and former Chairman of the Department of Civil Engineering at Cleveland State University and former Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers Forensic Engineering Division (formerly known as the Technical Council on Forensic Engineering). He was my primary caregiver during my recovery. When I was first diagnosed with stomach cancer, my husband and children did a great deal of research on stomach cancer. Although there were a lot of support groups and organizations involved with other types of cancer, there was much less information on stomach cancer, particularly in the United States. The desire to assist in the awareness and research on stomach cancer has led to our involvement with Debbie’s Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer (DDF), where we serve as mentors in the Patient Resource Education Program. Despite the extent and seriousness of stomach cancer (second leading cause worldwide of cancer deaths in men and fourth among women), there is a woeful lack of information and research on this deadly disease. Per cancer death, stomach cancer receives the least federal funding for any cancer. Hence, we actively donate our time to stomach cancer support and awareness and Debbie’s Dream Foundation. Along with our daughter Sheila Gambaccini we founded the Ohio Chapter of DDF.