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Holway Gift Will Help Current and Future Patients

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Cancer Survivors George and Diana Holway with their grandchildren.

George Holway is a numbers guy. As the former chief financial officer of a large coal company, he spent his career finding solutions to complex problems. And now with three grown children, four grandchildren and a 38-year marriage to his wife, Diana, a 16-year breast cancer survivor, George has a new vocation − helping the physicians and scientists at the Siteman Cancer Center unravel the complexities of cancer.

Nine years ago, George was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer that attacks white blood cells crucial to the immune system. It’s a disease that comes with a five-year survival rate, but George has beaten the numbers by taking part in several clinical studies offered at Siteman, many of which are led by noted myeloma specialist Ravi Vim, MD, associate professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine and George’s physician.

Siteman and Washington University are part of the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium, an organization of 13 leading academic centers across the country created to speed development of new myeloma therapies. Because of this partnership, Siteman patients have access to new medications that wouldn’t otherwise be available.

“It’s so important to have a place like Siteman right here in our community,” George says. “It’s a first-class facility with first-class people. They’re all awesome. Everyone I’ve met is so incredible.”

A few years ago, George and Diana decided to take a percentage of their investments and give back. The only thing they couldn’t agree on was which area of research to support. After watching his wife suffer through her treatment, George felt breast cancer research was the option for the gift. Diana was adamant that they should give to advance multiple myeloma research. So the Holways made the only decision they could – double the gift to fund both types of research.

Diana maintains, “Research is what we’re all about. George has had eight bone marrow biopsies, and he always lets them go just a little deeper to take a little more for research. We’ve been forced to go through this journey, but we sure don’t want anyone else to go through it, and I think the only way that’s going to happen is if we support research.”

The Holways acknowledge that there are good days and bad days, but their resolve is unwavering. “We always just keep moving forward,” George says. “My attitude is this: Where do we stand, and what are we going to do next? To me it’s not just about prolonging my life, but it’s about giving the team at Siteman the opportunity to test these drugs to see what they can do. Research is about finding cures and making peoples’ lives better.”