Flagstaff businessman, husband, granddad earns back time
with family thanks to new cancer treatment at St. Joseph’s

The Vickers family                                                                                              The Vickers family, Christmas 2017

Between running a successful business, hiking in the great outdoors, raising six kids, entertaining a dozen grandkids and enjoying time with his wife, Susan, Loren Vickers never had time to rest. Nor did he want to. But when he began to lose steam during the day and to battle intense night sweats, he had no choice. 

“He was like the Energizer Bunny before this,” says Susan, who’d never seen her husband slow down in their 35 years of marriage. 

It took numerous trips to his doctor in Flagstaff before Loren, 63, received the news: He was suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a blood cancer that forms in the lymph system and travels throughout the body.  He was also informed that the most effective form of treatment is a stem-cell transplant, a procedure not offered anywhere in Flagstaff. 

Fortunately, the cancer program at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center recently launched a stem cell therapy service under the leadership of an experienced hematology-oncologist, John Pawloski, MD, PhD, who’d previously built a similar program at a prominent cancer center in Atlanta.

The Vickers were elated to discover the treatment Loren needed to extend his life was available at St. Joseph’s. “It was like divine intervention!” says Susan.

“We had confidence in Dr. Pawloski from the get-go,” adds Loren, who underwent the procedure in spring of 2019 and is steadily regaining his strength, looking forward to the time he can return to hiking and other activities, especially with family. 

“Cellular therapy is the only potentially curative therapy for a lot of hematologic cancers, like Loren’s,” says Dr. Pawlowski. “It crosses traditional medical and surgical boundaries in the treatment of human disease … and is transforming the field of medicine.”

At 100 days post-transplant, Loren returned to St. Joseph’s and underwent a series of tests that gauge how well his body responded to the treatment. “All the tests came back good!” says Susan. “This means we have a much better chance of the cancer not recurring. What a relief!”

“I’m in a really good spot,” says Loren. “I got extra lucky with St. Joseph’s!”

St. Joseph’s Foundation is currently raising funds to expand the cellular therapy program and enhance the hospital’s overall malignant hematology therapeutics service line. To become a part of this lifesaving mission and support this innovative, lifesaving program, donate today call 602.406.1038.