• Cancer Patient Stories

    A happy ending that keeps on giving

The below article comes from our Sharing Mayo Clinic print publication:

Kristie Naines“It isn’t a big article,” Kristie Naines says when asked about her appearance in the October issue of Good Housekeeping. “It’s just a few paragraphs.” She’s being modest. It’s kind of a big deal.

Those “few” paragraphs describe how, at age 32, Naines was diagnosed with Stage IIIC breast cancer and told that she had a 30 percent chance of surviving for five years. With an 18-monthold daughter to care for, the young mom had no intention of waiting to see what happened. “My goal was to see my daughter go to kindergarten, to watch her walk through that door,” Naines says.

Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation followed. And doctors told Naines that her best hope would be Mayo Clinic in Florida where she could enroll in a clinical trial. The trial, led by Mayo researcher Edith Perez, M.D., was testing the effectiveness of the drug Herceptin. Naines says,”I was fortunate enough to benefit from Dr. Perez’s groundbreaking trial, and I have no doubt it saved my life.”

In fact, the trial was so successful that the Food and Drug Administration ended the study a week early to get the drug out to more women. Now, seven years later, Naines is cancer-free and just watched her daughter walk through the door to the third grade.

The story doesn’t end there. Well, in the magazine it does, but for Naines, things took another happy turn. After being a patient, she joined Mayo Clinic as an employee in 2006, becoming a major gifts officer in the Department of Development.

Naines is happy to share her story, she says, whether it’s with a magazine that’s promoting Breast Cancer Awareness month, with an interested benefactor, or with someone at the 26.2 with Donna marathon. “The gratitude you feel toward the organization that saved your life and the people there who worked on your behalf — that’s immeasurable,” she says.

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