Press-Republican

Health

July 8, 2014

Childhood cancer survivor takes on fundraiser

KEESEVILLE — When Devann Murphy was 11 years old, she was diagnosed with bone cancer and told she had just six weeks to live.

“I started to think about what I would be if I grew up,” she told the Press-Republican.

“After I was first diagnosed, when I returned home from the hospital, I found my school calendar and counted out the days to see exactly how long I would live.”

Devann, however, chose to “get up and fight” rather than give up.

“Every day was a new victory, and soon, hope overtook fear,” the Keeseville resident said.

CANCER-FREE NOW

Devann underwent 18 months of intensive chemotherapy and several major operations, including an allograft procedure to replace her diseased femur with a cadaver bone.

“Because the cancer cells had spread to my hip area, it was also necessary to remove my hip joint and fuse the area,” she said.

Though Devann’s femur remains unstable and requires her permanent use of crutches, she is now 35 and has been cancer-free for more than two decades.

EYES ON BOSTON

She has found herself involved in many cancer-related charities, including the Jimmy Fund, which supports Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute by raising money for adult and pediatric cancer care and research.

Dana-Farber continues to make important strides toward a cure, Murphy noted, and provides patients with innovative and effective treatments regardless of their ability to pay.

On Sept. 21, Devann and her husband, Tom, will take part in the 2014 Jimmy Fund Walk, held on the historic Boston Marathon route.

Participants may choose to take on all or part of the 26.2-mile course.

Last year, despite Devann’s physical disability, the couple walked 13.1 miles, the length of a half marathon, and raised $600 for the Jimmy Fund.

“I had never participated in anything more than a 5K, so I knew it was going to be a challenge,” she said.

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