Diagnosis: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Osteosarcoma and Thyroid Cancer

Lisa Uesugi, Photographer

Tammie was first diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at age 11 and underwent several rounds of chemotherapy. She was in the final stage of her treatment when she relapsed and learned she would need a bone marrow transplant. Fortunately, her sister, Tracie, a nurse at Kapi‘olani Medical Center, was a perfect match. Tammie was cancer-free for 11 years before learning she had a secondary cancer, Osteosarcoma. As a result, her left leg was amputated below the knee and she had to start chemotherapy again. Then in 2012, she learned she had thyroid cancer and is now on thyroid replacement medications for the remainder of her life. Despite her challenges, Tammie has maintained a positive outlook on life. “I’m feeling great now and try to live my life as normal as possible,” said Tammie.

ProjectFocus Note: Regrettably and with heavy hearts, Tammie lost her battle with cancer in 2013. Tammie was a graduate student at Gonzaga University when she again fell ill. Tammieʻs family granted permission for her image to remain in our exhibit as a way of commemorating her life, a life that produced an extraordinary young woman whose positive attitude in the face of adversity was both remarkable and inspiring.

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