Friends to help Layton woman battling rare cancer

Sep 7 2012 - 7:43am


Dr. Laura Lambert-Oncology at University of Massachusetts with Layton resident Tami Flanery after surgery to treat a rare and aggressive form of cancer of the appendix. (Contributed Photo)
Dr. Laura Lambert-Oncology at University of Massachusetts with Layton resident Tami Flanery after surgery to treat a rare and aggressive form of cancer of the appendix. (Contributed Photo)

LAYTON -- Family and friends hope to raise money to help cover medical expenses for a Layton woman fighting for her life after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Tami Flanery, 53, is in Boston receiving treatments for cancer of the appendix. Family members said the aggressive treatment, called cytoreductive surgery followed by hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) was not an option for her here in Utah. After her diagnosis in June 2011, Flanery traveled to Boston to undergo the rare procedure.

The procedure, also referred to as "Shake and Bake" or "Hot Chemo" allows surgeons to apply high doses of heated chemotherapy that can reach up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit, directly into the peritoneal cavity in the hope of killing hidden tumor cells that may not have been removed during surgery. For up to two hours, nurses jiggle the abdomen gently to make sure the therapy reaches all of the crevices. The liquid chemotherapy solution is then pumped out of the body.

Since the procedure, Flanery has had a couple of setbacks, said her daughter, Madison Flanery, of West Haven.

"Momma isn't in remission, but they believe after two surgeries that they were able to get the cancer out," she said. "We don't say that much though, cause we don't want to get our hopes up. She isn't out of the woods yet. She's still in Boston because she has fallen into the major complications part of the HIPEC. She has holes in her bladder, so tubes are coming from her kidneys to bypass the bladder."

Holes in her colon also resulted in a colostomy, Flanery said. She has nausea and tips the scales at only 90 pounds.

Tami is an avid runner, so when doctors told her she wouldn't be running in any more marathons, she was devastated, her daughter said. She was also given six months to live at the time of her diagnosis.

Flanery said her mother started feeling sick in 2010.

"Mom always got up when we got up for school, made us breakfast, packed us a lunch and even drew a picture on the little brown bag. Then when lunch rolled around and we opened our bags, there was a little note inside telling us how much we're loved and appreciated," she said.

As the year went on, however, Flanery said her mother started sleeping more and seemed to have less energy. She was diagnosed with a bladder infection and given antibiotics. She continued to get sick and returned to the doctor, who gave her a diagnosis of cancer.

Tami hoped to be back in Utah for the fundraiser being sponsored by the nonprofit organization Anything For a Friend, on Saturday. But because of a setback, she will be unable to attend. Flanery said her mother is thrilled and grateful the event will still take place.

"We're so thankful for the hundreds of people who have prayed for my sweet family," she said.

"The fact that momma is still here is nothing short of a miracle."

The fundraiser is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, outside the Union Building by the Bell Tower at Weber State University, 3848 Harrison Blvd., Ogden.

The event:

* Starts off with a 5K and breakfast. Cost for adults older than 17 is $30 and includes a T-shirt and breakfast. Age 17-younger is $15, also includes a T-shirt and breakfast. Special cost for WSU students is $15, which includes breakfast only.

* Breakfast only is $5 for all ages; feed a family for $20.

* Silent auction with many different baskets. You must be present at the end to claim your basket.

* Live auction throughout the event includes: four Jazz tickets on the 10th row in the lower bowl; a week's stay in Hawaii (airfare not included); a framed Sacred Grove picture; a custom high school letter jacket made to order for your student; a foursome golf package with cart at Talons Cove or the Homestead; a beautiful handmade quilt; and several more items.

* Many raffle items: an iPad 2 with 32gb; garage door opener; circular saw; river rafting trip; bikes; Christmas decorations; and much more.

* Kids Korner with lots of activities for the little ones: fish pond; bingo; bounce house; face painting; and more.

* Bake sale with lots of goodies.

* Wheel of Fortune. Win gift certificates from Smitty's Tires & Service $25; Sonic Car Wash $25; Kapp Construction $150; Essenual Hair Design (miscellaneous services); homemade quilts; and more.

* A DJ will provide music and entertainment.

* A balloon launch for Tami will close the event.

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