At age 34, Lynette Bisconti learned that she was pregnant with her first and only child.
Joy turned to despair 3 weeks later, though, when she learned that she had the deadliest type of breast cancer. Worst of all, it was already in her lymph nodes.
Her doctors advised her to terminate the pregnancy and start an aggressive protocol immediately. Instead, Bisconti scoured the internet to learn everything she could and consulted with different doctors. A lot of different doctors.
With the 7th and 8th doctors, she finally found what she needed. They promised to fight the cancer on her terms, with compassion and kindness, allowing her to carry the baby while undergoing a masectomy and chemotherapy. They also insisted on caring for her entire being—body, mind and spirit. An oncologist, radiation oncologist, nutritionist, naturopath and psychoneuroimmunologist (to treat mind and body together) formed her team.
Bisconti gave birth to a healthy son, Frankie. She switched from chemotherapy to radiation therapy and nursed with her remaining breast. One year later, she endured a mastectomy.
Eventually, doctors said Bisconti was in remission. But they also warned that her life expectancy was poor. More than 50% of the women in her situation die within 3 years.
Fortunately, Frankie’s now 12 year old and Bisconti is very much alive!
As President of The Gateway for Cancer Research, she is on a mission called “Demand Cures Today.” This allows her to help as many cancer patients as possible find their most effective treatment, and to fundraise for research that is the most likely to prolong or improve quality of life, and soon cure cancer.
Bisconti’s vivid blue eyes flash as she explains why most cancer research does not lead to expedited discovery of cures. “In 1971, our country made a decision to focus research on understanding cancer, as opposed to funding what we thought would work right now,” she says. “This was the opposite approach from prior medical research in the U.S. For example, for smallpox, our country funded what we thought would stop the disease first and decided to understand fully later. It’s time to take the vast amount of knowledge learned from basic research conducted since 1971 and President Nixon’s declaration of the war on cancer and turn that knowledge into newer, better and less toxic treatment options for today’s cancer patients.”
Bisconti adds, “Many of the most promising and creative ideas can’t get funding. The Gateway for Cancer Research tries to fill that void—or ‘the valley of death’ as it’s called in the cancer research world. We believe that donors give their money because they want their dollars to go toward solutions that will help patients today, not just 20 years from now.”
This also means that Gateway collaborates with partners who might otherwise be thought of as competitors in order to grow the most support for potential cures.
“Best of all,” Bisconti explains proudly, “99 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to research. We’re not stockpiling an endowment for the future when 1,500 lives are lost to cancer every day.”