PHOTO: Rick Kidder
Every day since September 18th of 2018 has been a battle for 23-year-old Maria Muscari. She has been valiantly fighting an aggressive Stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma. Having undergone nine rounds of chemotherapy and various immunotherapy treatments, the young woman is seeking a cure to finally put cancer behind her and move on to a healthy, promising future.
View Maria's answers to questions surrounding her upcoming clinical trial, and details of her journey with cancer.
After extensive treatments in Montreal, only one viable alternative to complete remission exists. On July 6th, 2022, Maria was approved for a state-of-the-art, life-changing clinical trial at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. According to the Center, the study utilizes the body's natural "killer" cells to attack the Hodgkin cells.
Dr. Yago Nieto, a stem cell doctor at MD Anderson, confirmed, "The response rate is 94%, and all 24 patients who have received the same dose that Maria will receive have responded. The complete remission rate is 69%. "
An obstacle stands in the way of Maria and this life-saving treatment, with the hope that the community will be able to make this trial a reality. The minimum cost to start this treatment if she does not stay at the Center is $250,000; if hospitalized, it will total $320,800. Therefore, raising funds before August 15th is essential to enable Maria to attend this trial and ultimately save her life. The trial, which begins in September, is fast approaching.
Donations can be made through the following GoFundMe page, organized by Maria's stepfather, Rick Kidder:
Before her diagnosis, Maria was an accomplished student studying nursing at Champlain College. She was also working part-time at a clothing store and trying to balance school, work, and friends. She had completed 2 out of 3 years of nursing school but unfortunately had to stop due to her diagnosis. This trial will undoubtedly change the course of her treatments and will be one of her strongest allies in helping her win the fight against cancer.
Maria's parting words to the public emphasize her confidence in the trial: "This trial means the world to me and is really my last option. I know it will work, and I have faith that this is the treatment that will save my life. With the help of our community, I know I will make it to Texas and finally be cured after these long four years."