From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders

February 16, 2022

Just over a year ago, Carrie Carothers was in a dark place, facing a stage 2 non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) diagnosis and worried for her husband and three children. Now in remission, this philanthropic mother has inspired her son to help find a cure for this blood cancer by raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

“When I was diagnosed with lymphoma, I was stunned and frightened,” said Carrie. “Despite being surrounded by family and friends, I had never felt more alone.” Carrie and her husband, James, an otolaryngologist, shared the diagnosis with their children who were 11, 14, and 16 at the time. “We said, ‘We’re going to beat it.’”

James immediately tapped into his physician network to find the best cancer expert to treat his wife. “Dr. Essell came highly recommended from physicians all over the city,” said Carrie, a resident of Terrace Park, Ohio. “Within a week of my diagnosis, I had an appointment with him.”

NHL is a cancer that starts in the white blood cells and is usually found in the lymph nodes. Most cases occur in people in their 60s or older and the risk is higher in men. “As a young, healthy female who didn’t fit the typical profile of a non-Hodgkin lymphoma patient, Carrie’s prognosis was good,” said James H. Essell, MD, medical oncologist, hematologist, blood and marrow transplant specialist, and cellular therapy expert.

“Everything felt right with Dr. Essell from the start,” said Carrie. “I never had any doubts. He was very open to discussing treatment plan options with me.”

Dr. Essell recommended chemotherapy for Carrie, which is typically administered in six cycles. Carrie and James discussed recent research findings with Dr. Essell indicating that four cycles were just as effective as six. Carrie completed her four cycles of chemotherapy and was in remission by the end of March 2021.

“Dr. Essell spent a great deal of time with me and guided our family through treatment, reassuring us that I would win the fight,” said Carrie. Carrie was determined to keep her body strong throughout treatment. She had always taken care of herself and enjoyed exercise. “I never stopped running or moving throughout treatment and I ate really healthy,” said Carrie. On October 31, 2021, Carrie ran Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Half Marathon and finished with her second-best time.

Now, Carrie is putting just as much energy into helping the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society find a cure. A philanthropist at heart, Carrie has always been involved in her community. She instilled these values in her children. “During the pandemic, I found myself thinking even more about the welfare of others,” said Carrie. “Because of COVID, my kids didn’t have as many opportunities to volunteer. When I learned about the LLS Students of the Year program, I knew it was a great opportunity to meld two causes that were important to my family.”

Carrie’s son, Graham Kempiners, now a junior at Mariemont High School, is participating in the Students of the Year campaign by leading a team of over 30 students in a competition to raise as much money as possible for LLS in seven weeks. “The program encourages a multi-generational approach, so I’ve worked very closely with Graham to get his team together,” said Carrie. The team, appropriately named Warriors for a Cure, includes Graham’s sister and three of his friends who have been impacted by cancer. To contribute to the team and help put an end to cancer, visit the Warriors for a Cure page today through April 6, 2022, at https://events.lls.org/soh/tristatesoy22/warriorsforacure.

OHC’s nationally recognized cancer research and clinical trials team relentlessly searches for a cure and gives patients early access to the most innovative treatments. For more information or to request a second opinion, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit ohcare.com.

Top picture: OHC cancer survivor, Carrie Carothers, finished the 2021 Flying Pig Half Marathon with her second-best time months after finishing chemotherapy

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