Ways to Give

2016 Models

George Beyer

In December of 2012 I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). From that day forward, my life changed forever. Little things didnt matter so much anymore. My focus was getting through the treatments. With the help of my wife, family and friends, i was able to get through five chemotherapy treatments. Unfortunately, in July of 2014 I relapsed and after one more treatment, went to UCLA in October for a transplant. I continue to do well and expect to be a survivor for years to come! Thank you to all of the doctors, nurses and staff at St. Joseph Hospital and UCLA for their hard work and kindness throughout this difficult journey.

Alex Bilbao

I have survived stage II/III Colorectal Cancer. Diagnosed on May 20, 2015 at the age of 30, I didn’t know what to think or expect. I went from never walking in a doctor’s office to having a month full of appointments. I feel like my journey and experience have been easy, because I compare what I dealt with to others. Regardless, I did have my ups and downs through acceptance and surgeries. I am and was very thankful for the overwhelming support from my wife, family and friends. They all kept me positive and forward thinking. My doctors of course were all wonderful, without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Lanny Booher

In March of 2015 I had a pain in my side. Next was a trip to St. Joseph’s emergency room. Then my life changed completely. The next two months were doctor’s appointments, CT scans and blood tests. On May 13, 2015, with Stage 4 Kidney Cancer I had my left kidney and my Adrenal Glands removed. With my faith in God and support of my family, I was able to survive this life changing event. I give special thanks to my wife Teri and my sons Bo and Brysen for helping me with my recovery, and having been blessed with the greatest team of doctors that did the surgery and still support me in living a long and healthy life.

Pat Buttress

I am a five-year breast cancer survivor. In February of 2011, I was diagnosed with a rare breast cancer: Paget’s disease of the nipple. My friend Peggy Woods is my “Earth Angel”/caregiver, she went through all my surgeries with me. She, along with Drs. John & Justin West and their great staff made sure I was physically and mentally healthy throughout the process. Peggy, my SISTAS and my adopted sisters as well as friends across the USA kept my spirits positive through prayers, emails, flowers and visits. I have been blessed by God to have survived this challenging disease. FIVE YEARS CANCER FREE! Live Life to the Fullest! Come join my Celebration.

Beatriz Gallegos

In September 2013, my journey with ovarian cancer started at the same time my three daughters and their families were experiencing their own unique set of challenges. Before my diagnosis I was gearing up for a busy season. After having a heartfelt conversation with the Lord, I felt led to surrender all my concerns and trust unto Him. I needed to be brave and strong for my husband and be an example to my children on how to fight this enemy called cancer. As a family, our Lord rearranged our strengths and weaknesses and we pulled together stronger than ever! Along with their staff, Dr. Tewari and Dr. Mahmood became our extended family. We were not left alone to face these uncharted waters! I will forever be indebted to everyone who played a part in my successful recovery! I feel born again and I am alive because of the army of foot soldiers working day and night here at St. Joseph’s Cancer Center led by Commander Dr. Wagman. By the grace of God, I have been in remission since April 2014. There is still more fighting to be done, but because of the lord and His plan for me, I am stronger and richer than ever!

Jim Gilmore

In May of 2015 I was diagnosed with tongue cancer. I underwent surgery to remove the cancer and in June I began 5 weeks of radiation therapy shortly after. My personal experience, through many consultations, tests, surgery, treatments and recoveries opened my eyes to countless blessings. I am so grateful to all the physicians and staff at St. Joseph’s who sheparded me through my journey; you are all amazing, gifted professionals. I thank the Lord for the opportunity to see more clearly and to continue my journey with open eyes and a warmer heart.

Yadira Jimenez

On July 7, 2015, I was diagnosed with Stage 2A Follicular Lymphoma. Being an employee at St. Joseph Hospital and familiar with the field of oncology, I understood the journey ahead of me. However, I was also surrounded by many wonderful doctors who provided an endless amount of advice and information. Along with the support of my family and friends, my approach to this disease turned from panic and fear to one of strength and faith. With this new perspective, I was able to bravely face this disease and after six months of treatment I received the news that I am cancer free.

John Joseph

My diagnosis on August 2014 was Stage IV Squamous Cell Caner of the Tongue. My treatment regimen began quickly and I felt like I’d been put aboard a fast train headed into the unknown. My last treatment was October 25, 2014. I’d had 27 radiation treatments and 6 chemo sessions. The healing process takes its own sweet time and the only thing I could control was my attitude. Since rejoining the world I’ve been challenging myself with getting my music career rebooted and am learning the art of Improv. Laughter may well be the best medicine. My wife and sons have supported me all the way. I’m a lucky man in so many ways.

Cindy Kilzer

My cancer journey began as a caretaker for my husband who lost his battle with a brain tumor in 2011. My brother died from esophageal cancer in 2005. They were both 49. I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008. It was just too much for my family to go through -- but giving up was not an option!! My faith, the love and support of my family and friends, and the dedicated St. Joseph Hospital doctors have given me the chance to enjoy so many blessings that I never imagined I would survive to see. A breast cancer diagnosis in 2014 sent me back to St. Joseph Hospital doctors and once again, I’m still here!

Benilda Limjoco

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2014, my life dreams and goals changed instantly. I was terrified knowing that there are no guarantees for what lies ahead aside from the fact that it will be painful and difficult. I found comfort and strength in the word of God: Romans 5:3-4. “Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.” I had six rounds of chemotherapy then mastectomy and reconstruction in 2015. It has been a roller coaster ride, but I held on tight to my faith and stayed positive. The treatments and surgeries were very successful. I’m grateful to my amazing team of doctors and nurses who had led me through this journey - Dr. Carpenter, Dr. Pan, & Dr. Zeineh. Most especially without the love and support of my family and friends and church, I would not have survived this journey.

Christine Lisk

On June 19, 2013 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer from that day on my life was flipped upside down. My cancer journey has been quite a ride filled with ups and downs, but I’m very happy to say I have come out on the other side stronger than ever. I feel more alive, enlightened and filled with positivity. In fact being diagnosed with Breast Cancer has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I see life differently now and feel and know that I can handle anything that comes my way. Thank you to all of my Doctors, Nurses, Family and Friends that showed me so much love and support through it all. I am forever grateful.

Ryan Martin

In October of 2014, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I would start a new journey in my life. I began a fourteen month program of chemotherapy in an attempt to shrink the tumor on the head of my pancreas. On January 27, 2016, my surgeon Dr. Wagman was able to remove all the cancer. My journey had ended, but because of it the rest of my life has changed forever. St. Joseph Hospital gave me everything I needed to survive this journey and all of my future journeys in life.

Karen Merkow

For three years I was questioning why my body shape was changing. I was persistent, I was relentless. Eventually a CT scan revealed a rare cancer- Liposarcoma- a massive tumor in my abdomen. Our year-long plan of a trip to Asia was put on the backburner and within a week of diagnosis, my wonderful team of Drs. Wagman and Alexson came to my support and I was in surgery. The odds were against me, yet Dr. Wagman was able to remove the tumor in one piece. I will be monitored semi-annually to watch for regrowth for the rest of my life, but know I am in good hands. Every day I am thankful for the support of my loving husband, family and friends who encourage me.

Fernando Negrete

I am an 11 year cancer survivor! I was diagnosed on May 11, 2004 with stage 3 testicular cancer. My doctor informed me that I was two weeks from my cancer being inoperable. My cancer had gone undetected with no outward symptoms. Then by divine intervention, I went to have a body scan performed. This was, I thought quite random, but little did I know my path was directed by God to have this done, which led to the discovery of my cancer. My journey of surgeries and its complication and then to chemotherapy was one I will never forget. Yet with God’s mercy and the support of my wife, family and friends, I am here today. I am honored to be part of this wonderful event and blessed beyond comprehension to be a survivor.

Tim Riordan

Seven years ago I was diagnosed with melanoma, and because of that diagnosis my doctors discovered I had kidney cancer and a tumor in my right thigh normally found in the lung. The doctors of St. Joseph Hospital are the best in the world. My wife Karla, our families and friends were all there supporting me. Having cancer is scary, having three is unbelievable; but with the support of my doctors, family and most of all my best friend and wife Karla, we made it through this challenge together.

Teri Rubin

I am a 3-year anal cancer survivor. When I was diagnosed, this completely took me by surprise; cancer doesn’t even run in my family. Little did I know, this would be the stepping stone to me taking charge of a healthier life for myself. After Dr. Ash told me I am lucky cancer didn’t kill me, but if I gained anymore weight I could die, I took this as a challenge. I have since lost 130 pounds and I am now a nutrition major at Saddleback College. I hope to be an inspiration for those that are struggling with weight loss issues.

Denise Skovseth

In July 2009, I felt a lump in my right breast. It was diagnosed as possible breast cancer, and I was referred to Dr. Jay Harness for confirmation. He did confirm I had Stage II B breast cancer. I had rheumatoid arthritis for a while; breast cancer seemed an impossible diagnosis for me. With Dr. Harness as my team captain we began my cancer journey. Surgery, chemo, radiation and reconstruction would take 3 years. With the loving support of my family and friends, I have been cancer free for 5 years.

Jim Stammer

“Strength”, not by days at the gym but through months of chemo is it realized.
Dr. Motherway, my physician urged me to have my long overdue colonoscopy. On October 30th, Dr. Abousaif notified me the colonoscopy indicated I had colon cancer, my worst fear. Surgery was performed by Dr. Gregory; however chemotherapy was necessary as the cancer had spread. My wife and I met with Dr. Tran to discuss the treatment plan. She had a very gentle way of reassuring me and making us feel both positive and encouraged. Over the course of chemo treatments, I did my best to carry on with life and not let the treatments affect my work, being a father and a husband each and every day. This was only possible through the support of my family, friends, doctors and faith. I feel grateful to say I am a one year survivor and poster boy for colonoscopies. Amen!

Jacquelyn Sutkowi

It has been 3 ½ years since the yoga class where I discovered the lump in my breast. At 28 years old I was shocked when I was quickly diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer and the BRCA 1 gene. My family, friends and doctors were incredibly supportive, loving and their positivity continues to be contagious. I laugh, dance and smile every day because of them. I am proud to say that Circles of Life has become a part of my journey. I will be sharing the stage with so many strong cancer warriors and it is our stories that will inspire progress and remind us to always keep moving forward!

Elaine Thompson

Cancer is a word, a scary word…but it is not a sentence. Five years ago after a routine mammogram, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. I never for a moment thought I was going to die from this disease and I would not let it define who I was. Through Chemotherapy, Radiation and the loss of my hair I continued to work. I want to thank my husband Roger, my family and friends for their support during that trying time. I also want to thank my Angels Drs. Michelle Carpenter, Cindy Tran and Venita Williams. Your compassion and care helped me fight the fight and you will be forever in my heart. For anyone going through this disease, remember attitude is everything. Be a warrior… believe in prayers, keep those who love you close and always have a smile on your face.

Linda Torres

Today I am 8 years cancer free. Some of you perhaps have just started your battle with cancer. There is hope! The wonderful doctors and cancer facility at St. Joseph Hospital is the best. Eight years ago when I first learned of having breast cancer, I put my faith and trust in my Lord Jesus to help me. With that He instilled in me hope, a hope that was manifested in the amazing care and treatment I received here at St. Joseph Hospital. I’d like to extend a special word of thanks to Dr. Margileth, Dr. Ash, Dr. Zee, my caregiver and my loving husband Henry.

Elizabeth Underwood

Most of my life I have been blessed with good health and a loving family, but on one afternoon in September of 2012, my daughter showed up at my front door with the news that I had multiple myeloma. It was that devastating look of horror in her face all of us get when the news is not good. I have always taken the high road with healing. I shall take all thorns that come and weave a crown of glory for my head. The heart breaks, the tragedies and tears shall be the shining glory of coming years. I glorify all troubles with prayer. All darkness has been conquered. I walk in glory and enclose myself in God’s healing light!

Tom Valter

My treatment ended one year ago and i've steadily regained strength and weight. In fact, in this last year i've felt well enough to take several vacations and have more of those coming. I encourage anyone who has been given a serious diagnosis to have a positive mental outlook and a determination to never quit. Today's medical options have increased dramatically.

Sandrea Varela

I’m a four year Breast Cancer survivor. My life changed on August 2010. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast cancer. I was with my husband when I received the news. He held my hand when I told the family. My journey was with one doctor to a team of doctors. I was blessed to have Dr. Catherine Garcia who set my appointment with wonderful Drs. Ivan Turpin, Winston Ho and Michele Carpenter. My doctors were filled with great honor and lots of respect. I understand my journey is not over, but with family and friends, I will continue to live.

Lora Weissman

I grew up in Orange County and spent much of my time outdoors when I was young resulting in skin cancer starting at age 27. I went to San Diego State and studied Food and Nutrition and I have always had a passion for teaching others about eating right, working out and health. I got a diagnosed with Melanoma stage 3B at 39 and my life was turned upside down. I was my mom’s trustee at the time and had to go on and continue caring for her while I endured surgery, radiation and interferon. It seemed as though it would never end, but on March 13, 2013 I finished my last interferon injection and have been free of that cancer for 4 years. I still have to get checked regularly and had a basal cell cancer cut out in August 2015. I hope my mom continues to be my angel in Heaven and keep me healthy for a long time.