Diagnosed with lymphoma, a deadly cancer of the lymphatic system, award-winning Newsweek journalist Jamie Reno felt stunned and alone. What gave him hope was learning of others’ successful battles with the disease.
His spirits were lifted and today, eleven years later, Jamie Reno has drawn on his experience with the release of Hope Begins in the Dark, a collection of 50 compelling lymphoma survivors’ stories. Featuring inspiring personal accounts from a wide range of lymphoma patients including former professional baseball player Andres Galarraga, comedian Robert Schimmel, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Hope Begins in the Dark stresses the importance of self advocacy during treatment.
“When I was diagnosed with lymphoma, I searched for information about the experiences of other patients. Yet, there wasn’t one comprehensive resource that provided personal stories of patients who beat this disease,” said Reno. “The goal of Hope Begins in the Dark is to give patients strength, through other’s stories, to become their own advocates and to take an active role in their disease with the support from this community.
There is hope!”
Reno became an advocate for the lymphoma community after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in late 1996. He was initially treated successfully with a common chemotherapy, but his cancer returned two years later. When Reno learned of the recurrence, he immediately began researching new treatment options and enrolled in a clinical trial with a radioimmunotherapy called BEXXAR(R) (Tositumomab and Iodine I 131 Tositumomab). BEXXAR, which was an experimental therapy at the time, has since been approved by the FDA for patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma whose disease has returned following initial therapy. He has been in remission for nine years since receiving that treatment in the spring of 1999.
“I took control of my treatment by conducting my own research and identifying the options that were right for me,” said Reno. “I hope that this book empowers other patients to educate themselves and discuss all available treatment options for their disease with their doctors.”
While no two stories in Hope Begins in the Dark are the same, taking control of your life and living it to the fullest, as well as making informed decisions with the help of a doctor, are common themes echoed from each survivor in the book.
“The stories featured in Hope Begins in the Dark are a true inspiration to everyone involved in the fight against lymphoma and we commend Jamie for his efforts to strengthen the bond within this community,” said Dave Moules, Vice President of Oncology, GlaxoSmithKline. “We believe this book will provide support and hope for the people facing this disease and their loved ones.”
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the fifth most common cancer in the United States(excluding skin cancer) and the most common cancer of the lymphatic system.(1,2) The average risk of an American developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is approximately one in 50.(1) In 2008, approximately 66,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the United States.(1) Recent diagnoses in the news include former American Idolfinalist Luke Menard, who has been diagnosed with Stage II non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and the father of World Series game-winning Boston Red Sox pitcher, Jon Lester. In 2006, Jon Lester himself was diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma called anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Today, he is cancer-free.
The book was written in association with Vital Options International, a not-for-profit cancer communications and advocacy support organization and producer of The Group Room(R) cancer talk radio show, and supported through an unrestricted educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline. Limited quantities of Hope Begins in the Dark are available free of charge by contacting Vital options at vitaloptions.org or calling 1-800-477-7666.