When Allison Schwartz’s grandmother Ruth aka Bubbie was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer, she wasn’t sure where to turn. But thanks to her mentor in the entertainment industry and the help of the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Patient Services Program, Bubbie was able to connect with the appropriate doctor to aid in her care and treatment.
“Marty Diamond, head of East Coast Music for Paradigm Talent Agency, is a mentor of mine and has been involved with the T.J. Martell Foundation for years. As soon as I said I needed to talk to him about my grandmother who was diagnosed with cancer, he and his associate Sara Foster were on the phone making calls on our family’s behalf,” says Allison, who works at Paradigm in New York City. “Thanks to Marty and Sara, I was on the phone with the Foundation’s CEO Laura Heatherly within two hours, trying to get my grandmother into Sloan Kettering where she wanted to go.”
“Laura immediately called a contact at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who suggested that she reach out to an oncologist at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University who had recently transferred to continue her work in ovarian cancer research and care,” said Allison. My grandmother was able to be seen by Dr. Jane Meisel who has been a wonderful help to her. It was a miracle that Laura helped Bubbie find Dr. Meisel, because Bubbie and Papa, along with the majority of our family, actually lives in Atlanta, so she did not have to travel for chemo treatments. This made her as comfortable as possible, and she was surrounded by our family at all times.”
The T.J. Martell Foundation’s Patient Services Program helps cancer patients connect with oncologists around the country for care and treatment. Thanks to the program, Ruth was able to be treated by Dr. Meisel in Atlanta and have a special surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
“It’s miraculous, miraculous, miraculous to be able to have this surgery at Sloan Kettering. With the kind of cancer I have, they sent me to palliative care but I am a vital 79 years old and even the doctor at Emory couldn’t believe I was her patient,” explains Ruth. “With a lot of love, support, prayers, good doctors and the right referral from Laura, we got me in the hands of the right oncologist. After just three chemo treatments, the CT scan showed just one spot of cancer instead of 50 so now we’re going for surgery at Sloan with surgeons who many people consider to be the best in America. Hopefully that will give me an extended period of life. Without my granddaughter, I would not have gotten to Laura. And without Laura, I would not have been able to get into Winship and Sloan and I got in in just a few days. It’s been great and this referral has been so helpful. This doctor is brilliant and kind and loving. Our whole family loves and trusts Laura.”
Allison will be forever grateful for the guidance of the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Patient Services Program. “Because there were so many unknowns with a diagnosis like this, we felt so lucky that the Foundation helped us make a plan for something that doesn’t really have a plan. It’s so good to know that in this crazy world with so many terrible things going on, there are still such good people. I feel so fortunate to have access to the support and friendship they’ve given my grandmother and we’re forever grateful!”