50 Years of Hope
Stacey Phipps and her daughter, Kerry, lit the virtual Tree of Hope at the Duke Cancer Patient Support Programʼs 31st annual Tree of Hope Lighting Ceremony. The December 2021 virtual event kicked off Duke Cancer Instituteʼs celebration of the 50th anniversary of its designation as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
When Phipps was diagnosed with breast cancer in fall 2020, she went to several treatment centers for second and third opinions, but the personal treatment she received at Duke stood out.
“In some places I just felt like I was a patient, but at Duke I felt like I was a person,” she said. For instance, her Duke Raleigh oncologist, Vijay G. Paryani, MD, asked about her husband and daughter by name, and he asked about her career. “He was really interested in my life outside of cancer, and I could feel that,” Phipps said.
“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my immediate thought was about my daughter, Kerry, and what would happen to her if something happened to me,” Phipps said.
The family participated in a Duke program designed for families facing cancer, called KidsCan! Children and teens can talk with people their own age about their parentsʼ cancer, and parents can talk to each other about what itʼs like to be a parent while undergoing cancer treatment.
“When I finished treatment at Duke, it sounds funny to say, but I was sad that I wasnʼt going to see my care team for a while," Phipps said. “I really felt that everyone really cared about me, and I missed them in an odd way.”
“Iʼm just so blessed to live in a place where I have such good care available to me," she said. “I find my hope by looking at this 8-year-old next to me."