Blue Faery Stars
Blue Faery Stars are people who have gone above and beyond the ordinary to help Blue Faery fulfill our mission to prevent, treat and cure Hepatocellular Carcinoma. We applaud and thank our Blue Faery Stars!
In Honor of Steve and Jane Kramer
Since 1976, Steve Kramer has been a successful dentist in Fort Collins, Colorado. He had no major health problems — including no history of viral hepatitis or underlying liver disease — until he was diagnosed with Hepatocellular Carcinoma in February 2014. Initially, his oncologist said he wasn’t sure if Steve was treatable due to the size of the lesions in his liver. However, after being referred to a surgeon and tumor board, Steve received a resection that removed the right lobe of his liver. Unfortunately, the cancer returned in June, which isn’t uncommon. At that time, Steve’s doctors told him his cancer was terminal.
The Kramers refused to accept the diagnosis. Steve’s doctors suggested he look for a clinical trial on clinicaltrials.gov and indicated immumotherapy might be his only hope. He and his family began searching for HCC trials with parameters that fit Steve’s disease state and treatment background. Steve took his doctors’ advice one step further by searching for the key words ‘liver cancer and immunotherapy’ every day. Within two weeks, he found a press release titled “Immunitor’s Breakthrough in Cancer Immunotherapy” A proof of concept clinical study of V5 treatment for HCC in Mongolia.
Steve began taking V5 on July 22, 2014.* Successive CT scans showed dramatic tumor shrinkage and blood tests showed a decline in his Alpha-fetoprotein levels from 47,000 to 6.8. Steve has energy, feels good and has suffered no adverse side effects. After his life-saving results, he and his wife Jane are on a mission to get information about Immunitor’s treatment to all who need it. Steve says, “In retrospect, my immunotherapy treatment was like finding an atom on a needle in a haystack.”
*Blue Faery does not endorse one particular treatment for HCC patients as every person’s genetic makeup is different, but we want patients to be aware of all treatment options.
Carter Bertrand was born on April 16, 2011, with jaundice. Many babies are born with jaundice, but it goes away in time. Not for Carter. When he was seven weeks old, his doctors confirmed he had liver disease. Originally placed on the liver transplant list, his name was removed when he was 17 months old because his condition had improved. However, his itching increased in December 2012. He would scratch to the point of making himself bleed. His liver had become cirrhotic, which led to a definitive diagnosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in March 2013. Within a month, Carter received a new liver — eight days after his second birthday.
Despite the many hardships in Carter’s life such as itching, stomachaches, procedures, and having a nasogastric feeding tube changed every month for 22 months of his life, he was always a happy boy. His family never knew how good he could feel until after seeing him with his new liver. His donor gave him a new life he didn’t know existed. Carter began walking one month after his transplant and eating by mouth within four months. He remains a happy, kind, playful boy though he is wise beyond his years. His family is forever grateful to the donor, the donor’s family, and the many doctors who saved their son’s life.
In Memory of Matt “Rhino” Anderson
The Rhino Invitational Golf Tournament was founded in 1985 by Matt “Rhino” Anderson. Every year since then, Matt had invited friends from near and far to come together to play golf in “his” tournament, and the event had grown steadily as Matt’s own circle of friends widened. Although there were no golfing skill requirements for receiving an invitation to participate in the Rhino, it had always been an honor to be selected to compete because it meant Matt counted you among his friends. For many, the Rhino has become a fixture on the June calendar every bit as important as a major holiday.
On November 10, 2003, Matt passed away after a six-month
battle with liver cancer. Before he was taken from his family, Matt made clear that it was important to him for the Rhino Invitational to continue. It came as no surprise to anyone who knew him.
Matt loved competition in virtually any form, and it brought him great joy to assemble his friends every year to compete on the golf course. Indeed, Matt once remarked that hosting the Rhino
was like having a wedding every year: a great opportunity to bring friends from different parts of your life together for a big party. In that spirit, Matt’s family and friends continue to gather each year for the Rhino—because Matt wanted it that way.
For many years, Matt Anderson’s family and friends have donated the proceeds from the annual Rhino Invitational Golf Tournament to Blue Faery. We thank them for their generosity.
In Memory of Kathie Bryson
Healthcare worker Kathie Bryson didn’t plan to fight her state Congress, but when she contracted hepatitis C—and later liver cancer—she discovered just how much tenacity it takes to be an advocate for a “silent” disease.
She had just completed four months of chemotherapy when Missouri state Rep. Jim Lembke knocked on her door. He was campaigning in her neighborhood. As she puts it, “He made the mistake of asking what were concerns or needs from us the voters.” As her family laughed, Kathie told Jim what she had been through, and he was stunned. She explained to him that 2 out of 100 healthcare workers contract hepatitis C and approximately 75% of liver cancer diagnoses can be linked to it.
Soon after Jim joined Kathie’s cause to promote awareness of hepatitis C, another hero came into her life — Rep. Chuck Portwood, whose friend had died from hepatitis C after receiving a bad blood transfusion. After some initial difficulty, Jim and Chuck developed an idea for a bill that they knew would get out of committee and past all the lobbyists. On May 10, 2006, Kathie listened as Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder proclaimed that HCR12 had passed; he also added, “Happy Birthday, Kathie.” Two months later Gov. Matt Blunt signed HCR12, which relates to Missouri’s hepatitis C day, into law at the old courthouse in downtown St. Louis.
Kathie also participated in the award-winning documentary Prometheus Bound: the Epidemic of Hepatitis C produced by Banyan Communications and narrated by Susan Sarandon. Kathie likes to call the film her “hair journey” because you can watch as her hair grows back after chemotherapy.
Kathie Bryson lost her second battle with liver cancer on July 23, 2010. As the inspiration and first recipient of the Adrienne Wilson Spirit Award, Blue Faery will always remember Kathie’s tireless efforts to educate the public about liver cancer. We thank Kathie’s family and friends for their generous contributions and continous support.