Groundbreaking clinical trial saves B.C. woman’s life

BC Cancer Foundation donors essential for current and future research

Groundbreaking clinical trial saves B.C. woman’s life

In the summer of 2017, Allison Kelly was living a full and active life. It wasn’t until she completed a strenuous back-country hike that the 36-year-old registered nurse started to notice a pain in her leg. Chalking it up to muscle soreness, Allison left for a lake getaway with her twin sister. It wasn’t long before she noticed her leg swelling.

Upon her return home, Allison made a visit to the hospital where they confirmed it was a blood clot.

Unbeknownst to her, that clot was the result of restricted blood flow due to a large ovarian tumour.

Allison’s life quickly became a blur of tests and appointments followed by immediate surgery to remove the mass. During surgery, the clinical team found evidence of further spread. After additional scans and pathology studies, Allison was diagnosed with Stage IV clear cell ovarian cancer.

On her 37th birthday, Allison received a call from BC Cancer to say that she met the criteria to participate in a groundbreaking clinical trial: Checkpoint Inhibitor Immunotherapy for patients with advanced disease for which there is no curative therapy.

Allison received her first dose of immunotherapy on Sept. 15, 2017. Six weeks later, her tumours had shrunk by an incredible 50 per cent.

Every scan thereafter showed continued shrinkage, and 18 months later a PET scan showed “no evidence of disease.”

Allison hopes her story inspires others who may be facing a similar situation.

“Participating in this trial is my way of helping other women who will face this diagnosis, by providing hope that outcomes like mine are possible,” she says. “I am living proof that the research being done in immunotherapies at BC Cancer is working.”

Dr. Anna Tinker, Allison’s medical oncologist at BC Cancer, specializes in the treatment of gynecological cancers. She says the support of BC Cancer Foundation donors is an important catalyst in fuelling current and future research.

“Without donor support I think many of the successes we’ve seen would not have occurred,” she says. “We’re on the brink of some major changes and advances in the treatment, detection and prevention of women with gynecologic cancers and continued support helps ensure they can move forward.”

Despite the challenges we’re facing at this time, cancer won’t stop. The BC Cancer Foundation won’t stop either and is committed to changing the outcome for the 5,545 British Columbians this year who will be diagnosed with a women’s cancer, like Allison.

While her check ups with Dr. Tinker may look a little different these days as most have gone virtual, Allison continues to receive world-class care at BC Cancer where her treatments are administered every four weeks.

“Thanks to BC Cancer, I have a future,” says Allison. “I don’t know what it will look like, but I know it involves living life to the fullest.”

To learn how you can help, please visit www.bccancerfoundation.com

BC Cancer FoundationCancerHealth and wellness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

Daniel Foster, last seen in downtown Parksville on Saturday, May 1. (submitted photo)
RCMP seek help locating missing Victoria man, last spotted in Parksville

Daniel Foster, 43, seen via surveillance camera using an ATM

Police stopped, then let go this man and his large collection of cans during a stop Monday morning on Resthaven Drive. Police had received a report of a possible theft, but let him go after he had returned the property, which he believed was his to take after being left out in public. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Report of theft, balancing act on Sidney street draws curious onlookers

Incident happened just before 8:30 a.m. opposite of Vancouver Island Regional Library branch

Victoria Police Department looks to identify a person of interest after a Friday night stabbing. (VicPD handout)
Police seek person of interest after Victoria stabbing

Friday night assault leaves one with potentially life-altering injuries

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read