November 7, 2011 (Atlanta) — Anita Geter’s granddaughter is learning firsthand what it means to give back to those you love. During a recent breast cancer walk, the Heritage Preparatory Academy raised more than $1,500 for students’ family members diagnosed with breast cancer. The school awarded $500 to Geter, whose grandaughter Abril Lori Geter is in the sixth grade at Heritage Preparatory Academy. Geter is enrolled in a clinical research trial at Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) – a Top 10 private cancer practice in the U.S.
“I went to pick-up my granddaughter after school, and the principal and students came out to hand me a giant check and a beautiful pink quilt that the sixth grade girls made themselves. I was crying and full of happiness, totally surprised,” said Geter.
Geter is part of the Celldex study of CDX-011 that is one of the newest ways to target treatment directly toward the affected cancer cells. She was first diagnosed with estrogen receptor positive, progesterone receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (ER+PR+Her2-) breast cancer in 2007. When the disease came back earlier this year, her doctors suggested she enroll in the clinical trial.
Geter said of her journey through the trial, “It’s important that they allow my input. They base everyting on how I’m feeling, and the doctors have great concern for me and my well-being. It’s like I control the treatment.”
Geter has worked some with research during her career as a nurse at Grady, saying, “I had some idea of how research worked, and knew that it could be very beneficial.”
Innovative clinical trials and their treatments can be expensive, even with health insurance and financial assistance from the study’s sponsor. Denise Smith, the Title I Director at Heritage Preparatory Academy, helped coordinate the students’ efforts in the breast cancer walk and creation of Geter’s quilt. She said that it was important they raise the $500 for Geter’s research treatment because, “most people don’t realize how expensive it is. Even the smallest amount can help, whether it goes toward co-pays or even gas money.”
Geter was grateful for the award. She said, “Money goes fast when you have a life-changing diagnosis.”
The Heritage Preparatory Academy is a charter school in southwest Atlanta that offers its predominantly African American students a chance to engage in a curriculum that instills character, discipline, and a sense of confidence. The small school of 114 students raised funds for two other breast cancer patients in addition to besides Geter. This is their first annual breast cancer walk.
Smith – a breast cancer survivor herself – said, “The students experienced the joy of seeing how they can make others happy. When the award was given to Ms. Geter, they were screaming and hugging her. They were so excited.”
Geter brought the check with her to her most recent GCS appointment. Dr. Mansoor Saleh, Director of Clinical Research at GCS, was thrilled to see the impact of the school’s generosity on Geter. affected by the school’s generosity. “Positivity can make a difference in treatment. It is wonderful to rejoice with patients over their triumphs during treatment, as well as their personal lives,” he said.
Georgia Cancer Specialists is a Top 10 private cancer practice in the U.S. and a leader in advanced cancer treatment and research. The practice supports more than 200,000 patient visits each year. GCS offers community-based medical oncology and hematology services and is the first private oncology practice to also provide a full range of support services for patients in Georgia, including wellness counseling and home health coordination. The GCS research department, whose focus is bringing targeted cancer therapy to communities, is the first in Georgia to offer Phase I clinical trials, the most novel cancer therapies available. GCS has 28 offices, 44 physicians, and more than 500 support staff members located in Metro Atlanta, and North and Central Georgia. Georgia Cancer Specialists can be found on the web at www.gacancer.com GCS is The Cancer Answer.