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Cancer
December 03, 2015
OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Patient Pete Julian

This story appeared in our 2015 Giving Guide. View the guide.

In 2008, Pete Julian was given a lifeline. It came in the form of a pill.

He had been battling a gastrointestinal cancer called GIST, and got some bad news: the disease had spread. Surgery hadn’t worked, and chemotherapy wouldn’t either. But there was one more option to try: Gleevec, a drug that targets cancer cells without harming healthy ones. It showed promise for GIST. 

Pete began taking a daily dose. Over time, the tumors shrank, then vanished. Seven years later, Pete still takes the pills, and the cancer remains at bay.

OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute launched the era of precision cancer medicine with Gleevec. Today, we’re building on that success with research to find lethal cancers in their earliest, most treatable stages. Who benefits? Thousands of patients like Pete, who coaches an elite track team and treasures life with his wife and son.

“Every time I have to go through that CT scan machine at OHSU, I pray,” says Pete. “I pray that I can live. But you know, living isn’t just having a heartbeat, or an inhale or exhale of air. To live is to have a life that we look forward to each and every day.”

This season, give life to savor. Give hope through the power of research. Support the Knight Cancer Institute.

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