"Once you choose hope anything is possible"
As an ACC (Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma/Adrenal Cancer) survivor and advocate for awareness, I decided to partner with Linda Gannon (President of ACC C.U.R.E.) to give back to Moffitt Cancer Center, the institution that has taken care of so many ACC patients in the southeast. Moffitt is the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida and is recognized for its scientific excellence.
Adrenal cancer is an extremely rare and deadly form of cancer, affecting only 1-2 million people worldwide. Experts in this field are minimal, most oncologists will never see this cancer in their career. I was lucky that Moffitt was in my backyard and that I didn't have to travel far for ACC experts. Moffitt is a major source of discovery and development of more effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Julie Hallanger-Johnson and Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez are researching the causes and different treatments for ACC.
As rare as this cancer is, St. Petersburg has been affected in higher numbers than statistics state as "normal" in the past few years. Soon after my own diagnosis in 2015, I learned of a friend's sister from high school that was diagnosed in 2013. Then in April of 2017, one of my oldest and dearest friends was also diagnosed. After 7 months of a fierce and brave battle, Shannon's body was ultimately weaker than her spirit. Her passing has left a significant impact on the community. Shannon dedicated her life to non-profit organizations and was very passionate for raising funds for those in need. In honor of Shannon's sweet soul and passion to help others, Shannon's Walk for ACC CURE is dedicated to our beautiful friend who inspired so many. All of the funds raised through Shannon's Walk will benefit Moffitt Cancer Center for adrenal cancer research.