Posted on July 31, 2012 at 8:54 AM
Tuesday, Jul 31 at 10:30 AM
HOUSTON—Two Houston-area sisters are memorializing their mother while helping raise awareness and educate others about the rarest of cancers.
Sisters Chandalyn Williams and Crystal Tate are close; their bond was made even stronger with the rapid passing of their mother two years ago.
“The end of April she was on a walker. May, she was completely bed-ridden and unable to speak lots of times,” said Tate. “In June, we were looking for hospice care.”
Cynthia Solomon Holmes lost her battle with cancer July 13, 2010. She passed away just three days before her daughter’s 33rd birthday.
“It’s difficult for me to celebrate birthdays because it’s still very raw, still very painful,” said Williams.
Ms. Holmes was just 52 years old when she died. She suffered from Leiomyosarcoma, a very rare cancer representing just 700 of the 1.6 million cancer cases diagnosed every year in the United States.
Dr. Vinod Ravi, a medical oncologist with M.D. Anderson, explained its severity.
“It’s a rare group of tumors arising in the smooth muscle of your body. LMS (Leiomyosarcoma) usually has an aggressive course, even though there are a few exceptions,” said Dr. Ravi. “Most patients tend to do very poorly especially once the disease has spread to other parts of the body.”
Holmes’ daughters had never heard of the devastating disease, and as quickly as it claimed their mother’s life, they were reaching for ways to help others dealing with the same situation.
Together, they established the Cynthia Holmes Foundation.
“We know how we were impacted,” Williams said. “We know first-hand what other families can experience.”
The Cynthia Solomon Holmes Foundation has hosted fundraising parties, mixers and this fall will host another 5K walk for the cure on November 10.
Dr. Ravi said it’s another step in the right direction.
“A lot of the work in LMS is supported by foundations and the work they do is absolutely crucial to moving the disease and its treatment forward,” said Dr. Ravi. “And for all of the patients who don’t even know they’re going to get it in the future don’t even know they’re going to reap the rewards from all that these foundations do today.”
It’s the least the two Houston sisters can do to memorialize their mother.
For more information about the foundation visit curelms.org.