Weekend benefit for Texas girl fighting peritoneal mesothelioma

14 May 2009 by under Events, News, People

shanna kurtz 100x100 Weekend benefit for Texas girl fighting peritoneal mesotheliomaToday I came across the story of a courageous young woman in Texas who is battling peritoneal mesothelioma, an extremely rare form of the cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen. More common is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs.

was diagnosed in 1999, at age 20, after suffering from several years of unexplained abdominal pain. Doctors who originally suspected a fibrosis tumor discovered a grapefruit-sized tumor in her abdomen, which was diagnosed as peritoneal mesothelioma.

Shanna’s journal on CaringBridge.org documents her experiences through the last several years as she has fought to keep this cancer at bay. It is heartbreaking to read about someone so young who has to face this experience. In one journal entry from October 2008, she reflects on how it feels when people tell her how strong she is, when she doesn’t have any other choice. She states frankly that she is jealous of people who have the option to choose what they will do with their lives, and reflects on so many doors that are closed to her.

Despite the inevitable depression, Shanna is remarkable. Upon her diagnosis told her only about 20 percent of patients survive beyond a couple of years. Determined to be in that 20 percent, she is beating the odds.

Most recently, Shanna’s journal chronicles a surgery on March 26 in , DC, at the Center for Surgical Oncology at the Cancer Institute, Hospital Center.  Dr. Paul Sugarbaker removed a number of tumors, including one that had covered part of her liver. Following the surgery, the doctor filled her abdomen with chemotherapy medication in a process called postoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy. The solution comes into contact with areas the tumor has touched, in an effort to erradicate those cells and prevent recurrance.

Shanna was in the hospital for a little over a month, finally returning home to Cuero, Texas, on May 7.

This weekend, there will be a benefit in her honor, to help offset the medical expenses of the surgery. The event will feature a bike ride and barbecue. The bike ride will leave from Grace Lutheran Church in Victoria, Texas, on Saturday, May 16, at 2 p.m., and will be followed by an evening of dancing, an auction, food and music, which will start around 4 p.m. at Lindenau Dance Hall, which is about 33 miles from Victoria. Cost to participate is $30.

If you are in the area, please attend this event!

In addition to the weekend event, there is an ongoing project called “Cooking for the Cure,” in which three friends prepare food in exchange for a donation to help Shanna. In its first month, the project raised more than $1,100.

For more information about Cooking for the Cure or the Shanna Kurtz Benefit Barbecue, or to make a donation to help Shanna, contact Cheri Travis at cetfrog@gmail.com.

One Response to “Weekend benefit for Texas girl fighting peritoneal mesothelioma”

  1. texas_mesothelioma

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