I didn’t set out to be a Patient, Treatment & Research Advocate, Expert or an Inspirational Speaker as it relates to Health but that was the path I began 22 years ago one late August Day in 2000.
I had envisioned myself as a teacher, business leader, great mom, wife, friend and family member. I had hoped to own my own home and to help others as needed. Thanks to a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, all of these things that I held dear to me, came true.
In July 2000, I had just completed my first Danskin Triathlon. I had trained really hard and was in great physical and mental shape. In reality, the reason I chose to sign up and participate in a triathlon was because I wanted to overcome my fear of the water and to become a better swimmer. As I made it over the finish line, I was proud of myself.
What I didn’t know then and what I now know, is that God had prepared my body and my mental and emotional stamina by training for this triathlon because God knew that my late husband, Christopher Steward Elliott, would be diagnosed with brain cancer. He was given about 14 months to live, leaving me with two small children to raise. And, that is pretty much what happened.
Just after crossing the finish line, I headed to a pre-designated to meet my husband Chris. We agreed on a spot well before the race, and were to meet up with friends who had made reservations for our group at Salty’s on the water in West Seattle. All good, right?
Wrong! Chris and our two young children never reached me at our predetermined meeting spot and I could not reach him on his cell phone. I decided that maybe something had happened and that they decided to meet me at Salty’s instead. I get to Salty’s, meet up with our group of friends and guess what? My husband and my children are not there. I immediately started calling my husband on his cell number and still, there was no answer. I was very worried.
About a half hour later, the three of them walked in (actually, my husband was carrying our son as he was too young to be walking a long distance on his own). I’m mad. The whole thing was really weird. To read about what was really happening, please go to www.EndBrainCancer.org to “Chris’s Story”.
OK, back to me and here we are, 22 years later. There are 3 reasons why I am in a position to lead Great Purpose Productions:
- I saw first hand how physicians and health insurance companies do not ensure that patients who are diagnosed with brain cancer immediately prepare for entering into a clinical trial that makes scientific sense prior to surgery. I saw first hand how most patients and physicians simply provide the current “Standard of Care (SOC)” for this disease while knowing that current SOC does not create survivors. Survivors are created from this disease only when they have the best of the best to remove their tumor. Survivors are created when doctors use the tumor tissue from one’s brain to create a personalized medicine approach to treatment, including vaccines and immunotherapy. In sharp contrast, simply designing clinical trials the same way they have been created for years is not going to be successful.
- On May 18, 2000, my late husband asked me “to do something about this disease”. On the same day that we created the “Christopher Stewart Elliott Lab for Glioblastoma Brain Cancer Research” at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I did not know exactly what I was going to do but I DID KNOW that I was going to honor my late husband and I DEFINITELY was going to do something about this disease as it was simply unacceptable that brain cancer took my husband from our children.
- About 10 months into fighting my husband’s brain cancer and just after his second surgery, I had an “AHA” moment that made me sick to my stomach. I realized that my husband’s brain tumor tissue from his first brain tumor resection had been tossed away, thereby, throwing into the garbage “clues” as it relates to genomics and personalized medicine on WHAT DRUGS could target his brain cancer and potentially, give him a better quality of life and increased survivorship. This was the day that I declared war on brain cancer and became a top Advocate and Inspiration not only for my husband but also for hundreds and hundreds of patients and caregivers since then.
Over the last 22 years since my late husband’s diagnosis I have been immersed and engaged with real patients and caregivers. For these reasons and the longevity of my career, I am your perfect consultant.
Great Purpose Productions (GPP) actually was created in 2010 with my vision that someday, I would have the experience and expertise that would allow me to work with others to increase treatment options, access to those treatment options as well as to update SOC for all who have cancer.
After getting through the extreme shock of my late husband’s brain cancer diagnosis and his death, raising our two beautiful and compassionate children and through healing by working with patients and caregivers along with researchers every day, I have evolved into a person who feels beyond privileged to work in the disease education, access, advocacy and INSPIRATIONAL space and with companies and people who need my expertise. I am doing something about this disease and other diseases. I want to continue to help others and have some fun along the way. I am blessed. I have found my voice. Now, based on my experience and knowledge, let me make a difference for you and or your company.
Dellann Elliott Mydland, President, Great Purpose Productions