AHN Cancer Survivor Starts Non-profit Foundation after The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort Grants Her Wish
Carol Glock, a breast cancer survivor from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, never dared to dream that she would get to fulfill her sons’ “Bucket List” to golf on the world-renowned The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.
“I know how taxing the journey to recovery can be for a family. On June 6, 2013, I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I was told that I had a 20% chance to survive,” said Glock.
“My tumor started as an eight-by-seven centimeter mass in my left breast. I was shocked. There is no breast cancer in my family history and I was receiving periodic mammograms. However, inflammatory breast cancer progresses rapidly, often in a matter of weeks or months. When you are diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer it’s typically at stage 3 or 4.”
Dr. Thomas Julian, a surgical oncologist and breast cancer specialist at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), part of the Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network, informed Glock about a clinical trial underway at the hospital of an investigational drug for inflammatory breast cancer, called Neratinib, that targets and blocks proteins that help cancer cells to grow.
Once accepted and enrolled in the study, the results of the treatment were almost immediate for Glock. On July 17, 2013, she was informed the tumor in her breast was nearly gone.
“The doctors told me that inflammatory cancer grows fast but it also responds fast to treatment. By August 28, 2013, my ultrasound did not show a mass in my breast. My response to the treatment was very rapid and very good,” she said.
After receiving chemotherapy, radiation and having a mastectomy, Glock was declared cancer free.
“I have a 90 % survival rate for 5 years and 80% after that. I realize that because of the nature of my cancer it could come back again, but I plan to remain vigilant and put my trust in the excellent team of doctors that took care of me,” she said.
Glock said her family’s incredible support also made all the difference in her battle with cancer.
“My son, Justin, chose to live at home just so he could watch over me and help my husband. My youngest son, Jonathan, made himself available for oncology appointments and was with my husband during my long surgery. My oldest son, Jason, also was wonderful throughout the entire difficult time,” she said.
Glock and her husband decided a first vacation to Seabrook and Kiawah Island on May 30, 2015 for the entire family was a great way to celebrate their good health and, for Carol, to express her appreciation for the love and support she had received. Son Jason, 36, did not make the trip because his wife was expecting a baby at the time.
“My sons always dreamed about playing golf on The Ocean Course. I called The Ocean Course to see if there was any chance my sons’ wish might become a reality.”
Mike Vegis, the Director of Public Relations for The Ocean Course, did not hesitate in granting Carol’s wish and in fact offered her sons a free round on the legendary course. Vegis, she learned, was a cancer survivor himself, beating Hodgkin’s disease 17 years ago.
“This unique opportunity I felt was so deserving for the sons who had supported me through my grueling cancer treatments over the past two years. I never imagined that I would find such kindness from a stranger. My sons thoroughly enjoyed their round of golf and their caddie, Bobby Hagen, was instrumental in making the day one that they will never forget.
“It was a once in a life time experience to be playing some of the most popular holes such as hole 17, the par 3, that so many of the professionals struggled with during the 2012 PGA Championship,” said Jonathan Glock, 28. Justin Glock, 31. stated, “It was so cool walking down the 18th fairway, the same one Rory Mcllroy did on his record breaking performance.”
Based on Mr. Vegis’ random act of kindness, Glock has decided to start a non-profit organization in Pittsburgh to raise funds for targeting breast cancer through clinical trials.
In addition, one of my other goals is to grant “Bucket List” wishes to survivors and their families who have never had the chance to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity. I never imagined that my trip to Kiawah Island would prompt so much motivation to help other families fulfill a wish at the end of a long cancer journey,” she said.
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