It was July of 2013 and former NHL All-Star and Olympic goalie, Marty Turco, was spending the summer with his family in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He remembers chatting with his mom about some pain she’d been having in her abdomen and back. Alma Turco was never one to complain about anything, let alone pain, but this conversation with her son prompted a visit to the local hospital. There, Alma was diagnosed with stage four clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Doctors removed her left kidney and soon after she began treatment in Toronto.
“My mom was so strong. She was a fighter, but unfortunately, we caught it too late,” said Marty.
The cancer took Alma just 6 months after being diagnosed. In January 2014, Marty Turco and his family said good-bye to the woman they loved so dearly.
“It was a really difficult process. We’re still grieving. I wish we would have had more time together. I wish we would have known to take her to UT Southwestern. She was the glue of our family and we miss her every day,” Marty explained.
Marty shared his mother’s story at the 2018 Rock the Cure for Kidney Cancer, UT Southwestern fundraising event, where he was the guest speaker.
“We need to save lives by giving money for research. I want to help keep families from going through what we went through in losing my mom,” said Marty. “I want to find a cure.”
The event was chaired by stage IV kidney cancer patient Merlinda Chelette. “I wasn’t expecting to still be here five and a half years after I was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer.” However, thanks to the cutting edge research of the UT Southwestern Kidney Cancer Program, she is doing well.
The Rock the Cure for Kidney Cancer event brought more than 100 people to the Dallas Country Club on March 2nd, 2018.
“For some reason God has allowed me to live longer than the average kidney cancer patient and I want to do my part in finding a cure while I’m still here,” said Chelette, who has had two back surgeries, a kidney removed, and three rounds of high-dose radiation since her diagnosis in August 2012.
The festive Dallas event, put on by the Kidney Cancer Coalition, included dinner, music, and a silent auction.
“We are very happy with the turnout and hope that this fundraiser will continue to grow with each year,” stated Chelette who received this year’s ‘KCP MVP Award’ for her above and beyond selfless service.
Brenda Stinson, also a kidney cancer survivor, and her husband, Frank, were given the 2018 ‘RockStar Award’ to honor their relentless dedication through volunteering their time and money to the KCP. Along with being a sponsor of the event, they donated a large number of the silent auction items.
“I think the Kidney Cancer Program is fantastic and the patients and doctors are incredible. We love and believe in this program so much and want to continue to give our support to help find a cure and give these patients a better quality of life,” explained Brenda.
Both the Stinsons and Chelette rely on their faith, and hope fundraisers like Rock the Cure will speed progress toward a cure.
“We ended up at UT Southwestern because of the quality of the doctors and care that Brenda received. And we are so thankful we did,” said Frank. Photos