Mary Ann Vanmulem
Mary Ann Vanmulem didn’t set out to get involved with research, but after her own pancreatic cancer diagnosis, she saw clinical trials as an opportunity not only to help herself, but also to help others.
“Somebody’s got to participate in them, or we’re not going to get any further ahead in this battle against cancer,” she says.
Since her diagnosis in 2013, she’s participated in four clinical trials.
“I guess I’m the ultimate volunteer,” she says with a little laugh.
The first clinical trial came after her surgery in August 2013. Luke Schoeniger, M.D., a surgical oncologist who specializes in gastrointestinal cancer, performed a Whipple procedure that took about seven-and-a-half hours. Mary Ann stayed in the hospital for nine days.
She needed blood thinners and decided to volunteer for a clinical trial testing a new type. The trial required that she give herself injections, which she struggled with, but thankfully her husband stepped in to help. She felt it was important to stick with it because the drug would keep her from getting a blood cot after surgery.
“If they can learn something to help somebody else, that’s good,” she says.
Read More of Mary Ann's Story