"I kept telling myself, 'I'm going to fight this all the way to the end'."
The third time the cancer returned, Dimas appeared to be out of options.
He had already been through so much.
During his first two bouts with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, he had endured numerous rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and a bone marrow transplant.
Now facing his third cancer diagnosis, his prognosis was less than a year.
But then he got a call that -- once again -- changed everything.
Clinical Trials at Moffitt Cancer Center
His doctor told him about a clinical trial at Moffitt led by Dr. Frederick Locke involving a revolutionary treatment called CAR T therapy, which uses the body’s own immune system to destroy cancerous cells.
His family immediately traveled to Tampa from their home in Orlando to meet with Dr. Locke. Dimas didn’t have to think twice when he was told there was only one spot open in the trial.
“I was physically and mentally ready but I knew that it was 50/50,” says Dimas. “I kept telling myself, I'm going to fight this all the way to the end.”
With Dr. Locke’s support and confidence, Dimas says he had the determination to keep moving forward.
Courage in the fight against non-Hodgkin lymphoma
“One of the things that Dr. Locke said that not only gave me courage but also made me feel at peace, was ‘trust the process,’” says Dimas.
Dr. Locke knows all too well the value of trust: When a patient and their family members trust their healthcare providers it can make a tremendous difference.
Dr. Locke learned this lesson long before he became a doctor. When he was just 15 years old his father was diagnosed with lymphoma. Like Dimas, Dr. Locke’s father underwent many cycles of chemotherapy and different treatments. But nothing worked until his father enrolled into a clinical trial.
That experience drives Dr. Locke’s passion to find new treatment options for patients like Dimas, and potentially thousands of others.
“It absolutely takes courage to go onto a clinical trial,” says Dr. Locke. “And it’s patients like Dimas who allow us to make progress.”
Eighteen months later, Dimas has beaten the odds. The tumor is gone. After years of fighting, he’s now a cancer survivor.