A Mother’s Day Thank You

Judy Orem always knew she wanted to be a mom.  She and her husband, Frank, built their lives around their two children, Peter and Nancy.

When Judy was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in 1995, the prognosis was grim. She likely would be dead in five years. But Dr. Brian Druker, a researcher at OHSU, was  launching  testing that would lead to a clinical trial using a drug that would become known as Gleevec®. In January of 1999, she and Frank traveled from their home in San Francisco to Portland, Oregon, hoping for a miracle.

Now, each day Judy is making history as one of the first patients to receive this life-saving treatment, which was approved by the FDA thirteen years ago today. Today, patients taking Gleevec have the same life expectancy as the general population.  Judy’s life is full with gardening, traveling and taking on projects like helping with her high school’s centennial celebration.

Because of Dr. Druker’s discovery, Judy was able to become a grandmother, and—this Mother’s Day—is planning surprises for her daughter Nancy with her grandchildren Ryan and Elizabeth.

“I want to say thanks to Dr. Druker and Oregon Health & Science University,” Judy said. “Because of Gleevec, I’ve had 15 more Mother’s Days with my family that might not have been.”

Learn more at onedown.org.

2 responses to “A Mother’s Day Thank You

  1. Thanks for sharing Judy’s story! Her courage and participation in the clinical trials for Gleevec have inspired CML patients worldwide for the past 15 years. Please continue to spotlight remarkable individuals like Judy whose stories give hope to those newly diagnosed with leukemia every year.

  2. I would also like to thank Dr. Druker for this wonderful, lifesaving drug. I too was diagnosed with CML 2 yrs ago and had an 11 year old son to raise who was a miracle himself. Without Dr. Druker I would not be alive today to raise my son. I and my family thank you from the bottom of my heart for working so hard for making this treatment possible!!!

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