Love. They say it conquers all- but can it help conquer cancer?

David Lash and his wife, Kate, enjoy a surprise phone call on their wedding night from David's stem-cell donor, who helped save his life. Photo courtesy of CWKelly Photography.
David Lash and his wife, Kate, enjoy a surprise phone call on their wedding night from David’s stem-cell donor, who helped save his life. Photo courtesy of CWKelly Photography.

Love. They say it conquers all—but can it help conquer cancer? For cancer survivor David Lash it definitely played a role. From the love of his friends, family, and fiancé during treatments, and his medical staff during a life-saving procedure, David credits love for helping him through his journey.

At just 21 years old, David was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of lymphoma. With his family and his fiancé, Kate, by his side, he began intensive chemotherapy treatments at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Test results soon revealed that David was battling an extremely rare form of cancer known as “double-hit” lymphoma (DHL)

Devastated by the news of being diagnosed with a cancer that had no known effective treatment options, David relied on the care of Dana-Farber physician, Philippe Armand, MD, PhD, to get him through a life-saving stem-cell transplant.

“While stem-cell transplantation can provide a powerful treatment for some lymphomas, it also entails a lot of risks. In David’s case, it was very challenging to weigh the possible benefit of transplant against its risks, at a time when little was known about this type of lymphoma,” said Armand.

After a successful operation, David and his bride-to-be were beyond grateful to take their love to the next level and began planning for the future. In December 2014, David and Kate said their ‘I Do’s’ in front of many family and friends, including Armand. The night was made especially memorable when, Tobias Jarmer, David’s stem-cell transplant donor, made a surprise call from Germany to congratulate him and his new wife.

“Seeing David speak to his stem-cell donor for the first time was emotional for all of us,” said David’s father, Douglas Lash. “How incredibly fitting to have Philippe and Tobias a part of this special day; without them, this would not have been possible.”

To show their love for Dana-Farber, and the care David received, the Lash family established the Harold and Virginia Lash/David Lash Fund for Lymphoma Research. The fund supports Armand’s efforts in further researching this rather unknown, rare form of cancer. Armand and the Lash family hope the fund will help to find more effective treatments for “double-hit” lymphoma, so patients can continue enjoying their lives with their loved ones, like David is able to today.

Erika Clapp
Account Manager/Writer, Development Communications

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