Marty Haake: I Never Thought I Would Be Anything More Than a Visitor

As architectural sales manager for USG, the world’s top manufacturer of drywall, Marty Haake was thrilled when his company was selected to work on the new James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. Given the prestige and importance of the new hospital, he opted to handle the account himself rather than assigning it to another member of his team.

Looking back, Haake says, “I never thought I would be anything more than a visitor to The James, taking a look as the project was completed.” That was before he found a lump on the base of his neck in March 2013—a lump diagnosed as diffuse large B cell lymphoma.

Haake underwent chemotherapy in his hometown of Cincinnati, where he has lived with Ellen, his wife of 30 years. He enjoyed two months of remission before receiving the disappointing news: The cancer cells had jumped from his lymph nodes to his central nervous system. He now had five tumors in his brain, requiring several more months of chemo to dissolve them beginning in November 2013. In the meantime, his oncologist recommended a consultation with Samantha Jaglowski, MD, at the OSUCCC – James to discuss a bone marrow transplant.

Deciding whether to schedule the transplant with the OSUCCC – James or another institution, says Haake, “was like deciding between two universities to attend—one where you have professors teaching out of textbooks, and the other where the professors actually wrote the textbooks.”

He was immediately struck not only by Dr. Jaglowski’s expertise as a leader in her field, but also by the exceptional customer service he found in every aspect of the OSUCCC – James experience. “I work for a Fortune 500 company considered best in class, and even we could take lessons from The James on customer service,” he jokes.

Haake and his wife have decided to philanthropically give back to The James, making a generous gift to the Bone Marrow Transplant Family Fund to help other patients and their families and to honor their extraordinarily positive experience with the James nursing staff.

In 2014, the cancer returned to his brain once again. After chemotherapy didn’t work, Dr. Jaglowski recommended full brain radiation. Haake underwent three weeks of daily radiation, which dissolved the brain tumor. Unfortunately, before Haake was able to undergo his planned stem cell transplant, the cancer returned very aggressively. His doctors outlined the news that the cancer was progressing so rapidly that further treatment was no longer an option.

“I was so looking forward to the process and anticipated success of the stem cell transplant. While the future is uncertain for me at this time, I am so grateful to The James for the care they have provided over the last number of years. No matter the outcome, my family and I will be eternally grateful to the doctors and care team who have offered us so much support.”

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