For Boot Walk co-chairs, MD Anderson’s mission is personal

Between them, husband and wife Malcolm and Dorothy Paterson have been diagnosed with three different types of cancer, one of which is so rare that only about 300 new cases are identified in the U.S. each year. Both Patersons sought treatment at MD Anderson first for their respective diseases. That’s why MD Anderson’s mission of Making Cancer History® is so personal for them. And it’s inspiring everything they do as co-chairs of MD Anderson’s inaugural Boot Walk to End Cancer™, a 1.2-mile stroll around the Texas Medical Center that raises money to support MD Anderson’s cancer research. The event will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12. “We are so excited,” Dorothy says. “I’m a geologist and Malcolm is a physicist, so we understand how complicated this disease is and how urgent it is to get funding.” A breast cancer diagnosis leads to MD Anderson The Patersons first faced cancer in 1998. That’s when Dorothy was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma after finding a lump in her breast while showering. Dorothy considered MD Anderson first because her breast cancer was so aggressive (stage III, HER2+) and she’d heard of its reputation. But that decision became firm when several close friends working in the medical field also encouraged her to get to MD Anderson as quickly as possible. Once here, Dorothy had a bilateral mastectomy with breast reconstruction surgery. She also had 27 lymph nodes removed. That was followed by eight rounds of chemotherapy — a combination of 5-flouraurasil, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan). “Adriamycin is known among patients as the ‘red devil,’” Dorothy says. “It is extremely strong and toxic, but...