PPD Heroes: We’re in This Together
Kirk Smith was diagnosed with stage IIIb lung cancer in December 2013. Despite a five-year survival rate for stage IIIb lung cancer of 5%, Kirk beat the odds but continues fighting for his life day-to-day.
“If I had been diagnosed a year earlier, I’d be dead,” Kirk said. “But I had a game-changer. My genetic testing came back and showed that I was going to be a candidate for a targeted therapy drug. This drug had just been FDA approved, and it was my lifeline.”
Kirk is in awe of the people who have the talent, drive and mind to create these kinds of drugs and work towards these clinical trials.
“I would love to be able to wrap my arms around them and thank them for my life,” Kirk said. “That’s what they’ve given us — life.”
The day after Jeff Phillips’ fifth wedding anniversary, his husband, Andy, was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. That was the day Jeff says time became the most crucial element in his life.
Though Andy will be on chemotherapy for the rest of his life, Jeff’s burden is made lighter because of what he does at PPD and the people he works with. He is optimistic the next great clinical trial will walk through the doors of PPD, and he will be part of not only saving Kirk’s life, but his husband’s as well.
“I take encouragement that Kirk’s out there fighting hard,” Jeff said. “And I would tell him to take encouragement that I’m fighting hard for anyone who’s walking our shared path. We’re in this together.”
Watch as Kirk and Jeff share their personal stories about waiting for the latest therapy.