Cancer Patient Gets a Second Chance in Grand Island

Less than one year ago, Tammy Fairley’s world was jolted by the words every cancer patient fears.

“The doctor called me and basically said, ‘Sorry, there’s nothing I can do for you,’” Fairley said. “‘It’s time for you to get your affairs in order and you should seek hospice care.’ That was shocking.”

Diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer in February 2015, Fairley underwent chemotherapy where she was living in Charlotte, North Carolina. The effects of the treatment left her unable to work, so the 51-year-old native of Shelby, Nebraska, moved back to her home state where she continued treatment in Lincoln and Omaha.

Last July, Fairley wasn’t feeling well and, shortly after undergoing a CT scan, received the discouraging outlook.

After a few days of contemplation and tears, Fairley spoke to a different physician in Omaha who helped her search for a clinical trial. Eventually, Fairley was given the name of David Crockett, MD, a medical oncologist at the CHI Health St. Francis Cancer Treatment Center in Grand Island.

With Crockett’s help, Fairley entered a clinical trial and started receiving infusion treatment at the end of August. Fairley’s most recent scan revealed that four of the six tumors were gone and two others shrunk significantly.



Although Fairley said she still deals with some side effects, including brain fog, aches and fatigue, the treatment she’s receiving in her clinical trial has been much more tolerable than her previous experiences with chemotherapy.

“Things are going great,” Fairley said. “I got a part-time job when I never thought I would work again in my life.”

After seeking treatment in much larger cities, Fairley said it was “pretty surprising” to find a clinical trial at the St. Francis Cancer Treatment Center in Grand Island, a central Nebraska city with a population of a little more than 50,000.