Love of Family Leads Grandmother to Leukemia Clinical Trial at The James

Diagnosis led to determination for leukemia survivor Susan Powers, who turned to a clinical trial to help her reach the goal of holding her future grandchild.

When an inquiry about hip pain resulted in a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), Powers’ daughter, Cheryl Spiler, thought her mother might decide against undergoing treatment because of the experience of Powers’ husband, who had passed away after cancer treatment five years earlier.

“I knew all along she would never do what my dad did, and we respected her wishes for that. Whatever she wanted to do, we would do.”

For Powers, however, the knowledge that Spiler was trying to become pregnant changed her perspective.

“She pulled back and said, ‘I’m going to fight, because I want to be here to rock that baby someday,'” Spiler says.

Powers’ vow eventually led her to the OSUCCC – James, where she agreed to participate in “Beat AML,” a large clinical trial aimed at advancing treatments for the disease.

Powers soon began taking a daily pill to treat her AML. Less than a year later, she was told she was in remission—and she was able to complete her mission of holding her new grandchild.

Powers continues to visit the OSUCCC – James for follow-ups and to provide updates on the baby that helped save her life.

“The doctors down there are so cheerful and just make you feel good—I enjoy going down there just to see them, chat with them. They always ask how the baby is,” she says.

Learn more about Beat AML and how OSUCCC – James experts have a leading role in its groundbreaking work.