Stomach Cancer Survivor Stories

You Are Not Alone! Read About Some Survivors and Share Your Story With Us!

Being diagnosed with stomach cancer is devastating enough without having the added burden of going through it alone and feeling like there is no hope. Debbie's Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer is changing that. Read the stories below about some extraordinary people who have survived stomach cancer and are winning the battle. Getting involved with DDF and sharing your survivor story is another way to feel less alone and isolated. If you are in need of further assistance, call our Helpline (877) 646-5864 for support. To be connected with a stomach cancer survivor, click here.

Debbie's Dream Foundation is proud to partner with CURE® to help highlight patient and caregiver experiences, providing hope for others along their journey. 

Chris Riley – West Yorkshire, England

I began feeling strange in Nov 2019. I started having random panic attacks and feeling generally uneasy and very down, which was entirely out of character for me. After struggling for a few more weeks, I went to see my general practitioner. My doctor listened as I explained my symptoms and gave me some anti-depressants. The tablets seemed to stop…

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Judy Kessler – Milford, Delaware

I am 55 years old and the mother of five children. Two of which have been given back to God, as we say in my family—one at birth and the other one, Chelsea, on June 11, 2021, from this brutal disease, linitis plastica or leather bottle stomach, a rare form of stomach cancer, at the age of 31. Ironically Chelsea…

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Amy Jacobs – Long Island, New York

I dialed “9-1-1” late evening on June 12, 2018, for excruciating abdominal pain, for which I underwent emergency surgery resulting in a partial gastrectomy (Bill Roth II procedure) removing the lower two-thirds of my stomach. A 9.5 centimeter-sized tumor had perforated the pyloric antrum, explaining the excruciating pain I experienced. I have an extremely high pain tolerance. At the time,…

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Theresa Germano – New Jersey

Theresa Germano was diagnosed in February of 2018 with Stage 4 GE junction cancer (esophagus and stomach intersection) that had spread to her liver. This news led her daughter Adriana and son-in-law Tony to sell their home within 30 days and move in with Theresa as official caregivers. Just nine years prior, Adriana’s father died from stomach cancer within six…

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Jennifer Higgins-Spiers – Massachusetts

I was diagnosed with stomach cancer by Accident when I was Twenty-six years old on July 27, 2009. I had been seeing doctors for lower abdominal pain and a generalized feeling of malaise-zero energy, and a sudden onset of terrible GERD. But the pain I experienced is what lead me to be seen. I was desperate for help. While being…

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Lisa Gardner – New Hampshire

My name is Lisa Gardner. I am a 46-year-old wife, mother, and special education para-educator. February 28, 2018, I was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. The 10 cm tumor was growing in my upper stomach and into my esophagus. The cancer had spread to 4 major lymph nodes around my aorta, making my case inoperable. Doctors had very low…

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Victoria Soudaros – California

Victoria “Vatsany” Soudaros is an immigrant from Laos.  She loves to travel, eat, shop, and is a chef at heart.  She is half Laotian and Thai.  In 1979, Victoria’s family was sponsored for asylum as political refugees from Laos to the U.S. by a Lutheran Church.  Victoria has loved fashion and food since the age of 5.  She developed this…

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Alan Cohen – New Jersey

I was having stomach pains for a while, and in 2015 I went to an oncologist who just monitored my bloodwork. I asked him a few times to please do an endoscopy to look into my stomach, but he refused. As I had more bloodwork done, my chromogranin, a tumor marker, kept rising. A normal chromogranin reading is 90 and…

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Millie McConnell – British Columbia, Canada

My name is Millie McConnell, and I am a twelve year stomach cancer survivor. I was diagnosed Nov 15, 2001 with Stage 3B Signet Ring Stomach Cancer and told to put my affairs in order. The hospital had me on morphine although it was on my record prior to surgery that I was very allergic to it. Following surgery I…

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Randy Hillard – Michigan

I never really had any symptoms of stomach cancer. In 2010, I was a Professor at Michigan State University and was Provost for Health, responsible for the Medical and Nursing Colleges. I thought that I was in great health. I was at the Michigan State University Student Health Service Halloween Party in 2010, probably wearing some kind of silly mask.…

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Pat Campola – Florida

On September 20, 2012, my life changed but not for a good reason. That day I was diagnosed with gastric cancer and specifically a tumor in the upper part of the stomach near the esophagus. I have been in the health insurance field for 30 years and was acutely aware of the seriousness of my situation and did what I’m…

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Melani Vincelli – New Jersey

Like most woman today, I always put my health concerns last. So in January of 2009 when I noticed some pressure under my breastbone, I ignored it. I thought that I am too young for anything to be seriously wrong. I was only 49. I had a stressful job, I sold technology to businesses and with the recession in full…

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Gae Rogers – Maryland

This year I celebrated my 55th birthday. It’s a birthday I looked forward to celebrating, since it also marked my 5 year anniversary as a stomach cancer survivor. In July 2007, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Gastric Cancer. It was a signet ring cell type which I was told was an extremely aggressive, fast growing cancer. I was shocked.…

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Daniel Damian – Florida

My name is Daniel, and this is my cancer story. On Sunday morning, October 31, 1994, as soon as I got up I started getting heart palpitations every time I moved, and every time I tried to get up I got very dizzy. I decided to wait, thinking that maybe it would go away, but it didn’t. Later on in…

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Rachael Cortez – California

I am Rachael Cortez from Lodi, California; I am 31 years old. I was diagnosed with stage 2 stomach cancer on June 20, 2014. “Why me?” I kept asking that day. I was so healthy. I have never had anything wrong. It was a complete shock to me and my husband of almost 15 years. We wondered about whom we…

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Nelson Civello – Florida

April 1, 2015 After fighting prostate cancer it appeared that I would resume “the good life” of a retired executive playing golf and living on the beach in Florida with my wife of 42 years. On my 67th birthday we celebrated with a steak dinner. But cramping and distention on the right side of my abdomen was the result. My…

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Angela Bosela – Ohio

In January 2007, at the age of 55, I discovered that I had stomach cancer. I had always been healthy, but I had some recurring chest pain for six months or so. I even told my husband I felt like I had a hole just below the sternum. (Who knew that the stomach is located so high?) In November 2006,…

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Steven Melen – California

My story begins in Spring 2007 with my first symptoms. I first started to feel an increased amount of fatigue and was having small amounts of pain while swallowing food. Occasional reflux sent me to my primary care physician where he initially diagnosed my symptoms as stress and gave me a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to help with the reflux.…

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