John and Jennifer have been fighting cancer since October 2010 when John was first diagnosed with stage III renal cancer. Jennifer was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in October 2013. Both were treated at MD Anderson in Houston. John underwent a complete right radical nephrectomy in November 2010 followed by regular scans and follow-ups. Jennifer started chemotherapy in December 2013, underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy in May 2014, and completed thirty rounds of targeted radiation treatments in August 2014. She now takes daily hormonotherapy medication to reduce her chances of reoccurrence and has been going through the reconstructive process for the last two years.
In February 2017, the Ferrells received the news they had feared for seven years. John’s cancer had returned and spread to his lungs and pancreas. He was now stage IV. Given the fact renal cancer is resistant to conventional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, they were uncertain of what was to come next. They were fortunate to learn renal cancer treatments had advanced significantly in the last seven years and there was a new immunotherapy trial for renal cancer at MD Anderson in Houston. Thankfully, John was accepted into the trial and started treatments in March 2017. John has continued his positive outlook on life believing participating in this trial is one way to pay it forward helping to advance cancer research for the benefit of others. He believes the trial will provide a cure and allow him to live a long and productive life.
Fueled by their own trials, John and Jennifer look at their cancer diagnosis as a blessing in disguise. Their struggles have made their family stronger and given them a new outlook on life. Each day is a blessing and a chance to make a difference. They have been fortunate to have a strong network of family and friends, supportive employers, and medical coverage which have all made their fight against cancer easier. They realize not everyone is as lucky and feel a calling to help others fighting this disease. The Ferrells are a normal, active family enjoying life, raising their son, and working hard to build a good faith-based life.