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Mother Who Lost Teenage Daughter To MM


Reading about Jorge sure brought back memories. Six years ago this month we lost our beautiful 17 years old daughter Kristen to mesothelioma. When she was first diagnosed we too were told they were double checking the diagnosis because of her age. But it was verified by a lab in St. Louis. We lived in Oklahoma City at the time. Eventually, our effort led us to Dr. David Sugarbaker at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He proposed to remove Kristen's lung that was affected, however, when he began the surgery he had to stop because he found the cancer had wrapped around some blood vessels going to her heart.

We returned to our home state of Ark and Kristen started a rigorous regimen of chemo at the Cancer Research Center in Little Rock, Ark. She outlived her prognosis by 3 mos. and died at the age of 17 years, 3 mos. Three months later we presented her diploma (she graduated with honors from grades made before her death) at the graduation that was dedicated to her honor at her high school.

I hope someone finds a cure for this before another person, much less a child has to go through this. I must say, most times she was braver then we were and never gave up hope of beating her cancer.

I don't know who will get this but you might let Dr. Sugarbaker know that when Kristen died the cancer had also spread to her stomach, pelvic region, and heart. And trying to make some good out of Kristen's death, we donated her body to cancer research at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Hospital. Her name was Kristen Lowery and I believe Dr. Sugarbaker operated on her in November of 1990 or 1991.

Kristen certainly taught us the meaning of courage. My prayers will be with Jorge and his family.

I also remember that when we searched for places to take Kristen, we were told that St. Judes in Memphis, Tenn was doing some work with mesothelioma patients. Unfortunately, they could not help Kristen, but this may be an avenue for Jorge.

Another piece of information we were given is that at the time Kristen was sick, that there were fewer than 50 cases of people under the age of 18 with mesothelioma in the English speaking world. We were told there were not a lot of statistics for people her age since she was in a rare age group. I would appreciate it if you would keep me informed about Jorge if you have the time.

Susan Lowery

P.S. We were never able to figure out where Kristen may have come into contact with asbestos.

** POSTED FEBRUARY 22, 1998 **