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If a cancer diagnosis has taught Norman Todd and his wife Ladonna one thing, it’s that life goes on and you might as well live it to the fullest. In 2015, shortly before Ladonna had the upper-left lobe of her lung removed due to cancer, Norman was diagnosed with rectal cancer. More than 45 treatments later, he’s feeling good—and more appreciative than ever of everyday life. The couple spends about half their time at the Evening Star Campground near Topeka, Illinois, and Norman says he’s enjoying their time together there even more these days.

He’s also hoping to play a role in helping future patients discover that same quality of life by taking part in a Foundation-funded clinical trial. Participants are testing a chemotherapy drug that may eliminate the need for radiation prior to surgery—which could help reduce side effects and get patients into the operating room faster. “I appreciate all that the people who went before me did to help develop new treatments, and I want to do what I can to help someone else in the future.”

Norman Todd May 8, 2017

When you consider all the things you’d like to pass on to your children, cancer certainly doesn’t make the list. But given her family’s history, Ann Best knew it was a possibility. Ann, her mother and her sister are all survivors, and she’s lost several aunts and cousins to the disease.

After much deliberation, Ann underwent genetic testing. Since then, two of her siblings and several of her nieces and nephews have done the same. She’s hoping her two sons will undergo testing soon.

Family members have received a mix of positive and negative results, but whatever the outcome, Ann’s convinced it’s better to be proactive than reactive. “There’s so much anxiety when you think about how this knowledge might affect your kids. But the more you know, the better equipped you are to deal with it.”

Knowing the important role the Foundation plays in helping promote and advance testing locally, Ann remains a vocal advocate, serving as a volunteer, donor and board member. “For my kids, I want to see really good research continue right here. The Foundation helps keep Illinois CancerCare on the cutting edge of treatments and therapies.”

The Foundation supports genetic screening programs to identify hereditary cancers, with special emphasis on families at risk for colorectal and breast cancer. Your contributions help those in need receive financial assistance for tumor sequencing—and empower people to understand their risks and make informed decisions about their futures.

Ann Best May 8, 2017

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