[ Anglais] Patient Advocate Don Armstrong: How an AML Survivor Gives Back

Published on

Topics include: Patient Stories

Meet patient advocate Don Armstrong as he shares his acute myeloid leukemia (AML) diagnosis story and ways he gives back to the cancer community after feeling like he’s been given a second chance at life. Don explains how, following a stem cell transplant, he got involved with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) and continues to advocate for patients and families living with AML. 

This is a Patient Empowerment Network program in partnership with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society produced by Patient Power. We thank Celgene, Daiichi Sankyo, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Novartis for their support. These organizations have no editorial control. It is produced solely by Patient Power.

View more programs featuring and

Produced in association with and

Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:

Let's go to Fort Worth, Texas, and joining us now is Don Armstrong, who was treated for AML.  Gee, Don, in 2005 your whole world turned upside down, right?  

Don Armstrong:

It absolutely did. September of 2005, I had no idea there was anything wrong with me until I had a couple ladies tell me on a Friday afternoon I looked horrible.  That ultimately led me to see my general practitioner, and a couple of days later I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, and from there right into the hospital, right into treatment.  

Andrew Schorr:

Right.  And you were in the hospital for a long time.  

Don Armstrong:

I was.  I was in the hospital the first time for 33 days.  

Andrew Schorr:

Wow.  And ultimately you had a transplant, which is one of the approaches still for AML, and you survived.  

Don Armstrong:

I did.  I did.  Yeah, it was interesting.  That first couple of days in the hospital there was so much activity going on around we and I couldn't understand why I was getting so much attention until one of the nurses kind of pulled me aside and said, you understand you've got a 25 to 30 percent chance of surviving this type of leukemia, don't you?  And I said, now I do, yes.  So it was quite a shock to the system, and it was something that—you just have to kind of hang on and just go with the program as much as you can. 

Andrew Schorr:

And a shock to the family. I mean, it's a family affair.  

Don Armstrong:

No question about it. Whenever you're diagnosed with cancer, no matter what the cancer is, it's just not you.  The entire family is involved.  And I had a great support system.  My dad and my brother and my sister came from different parts of the country just to be with me and support me.  I had an unbelievable group of family and friends that were there with me every single day.  

Andrew Schorr:

And you had a transplant. Where did the donor cells comes from that sort of rebooted your immune system?  

Don Armstrong:

That's a great question. I'm actually currently still looking for my donor.  My donor, he was happy.  I know he's a male.  He was excited that he was able to help me, but I have never able to connect with him. I'm trying again.  I just—so through the Be the Match I got my stem cells, and fortunately there was someone there that was willing to give my life a second chance.  

Andrew Schorr:

Now, Don is very active with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which is a partner in this program. Don, you've spent many years now, your career has been in golf and you were a golf superintendent, and yes, you sprayed pesticides on the golf course.  You're devoted to giving back.  Talk the a little bit about that and what you try to tell patients and families so they can get through this hopefully successfully, as you have.  

Don Armstrong:

You know, like we had talked about, I had no idea there was anything wrong with me when I found out I had leukemia, and I was in for a pretty big fight of my life.  After five rounds of chemo and a stem cell transplant, making it through that, I felt like I had been given a second chance, so I wanted to find a way to give back.  And I found The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  I found one of their campaigns, Team in Training.  Started doing the endurance events and raising money for that organization.  Just did my 2015 retraining event, but through it all I really wasn't doing it just to run a marathon.  I was doing it to raise money for research so that somebody else hopefully didn't have to go through what I went through.  So for me that was a big shift in my mindset.  That eventually led me into being a part of the board of trustees, and I continued along that line.  And I try to stay up on as much about AML as I can, and I talk to as many patients around the country as I can whenever I'm given the opportunity. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Related Programs

How Can AML Patients Get Involved With Clinical Trials?

Even though U.S. clinical trial enrollment is very low, the trials bring development and new medicines to patients. Watch as Leah Szumita breaks down how patients can get involved.

Published:

A Changing AML Treatment Landscape: Personalizing Therapy for the Patient

As part of coverage from the ASH 2018 annual meeting, Dr. Ellen Ritchie and Dr. Sangmin Lee give insight on personalized care for AML patients. Watch now to learn more.

Published:

What Emotional Side Effects Do AML Patients Face?

How does an AML diagnosis affect a person’s emotional health? Tune in as Dr. Thomas LeBlanc discusses the emotional impact of AML on patients and some commonly seen emotional responses to diagnosis and treatment.

Published:

Advertisement
Rejoignez notre communauté S'inscrire aux événements Lisez notre dernier blog
Advertisement

Page last updated on August 21, 2019