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My Massey Story

Kathleen Oleson

Kathleen Oleson

Many of you do not know this, but in January 2019 I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic melanoma. At the time I was in my last semester at VCU working towards my Masters degree to become a Nurse Practitioner while also working part time at the Infusion Center at Memorial Regional Medical Center.

It all started in 2016 when I had a small mole removed from my back.
While that was melanoma, it was small, superficial and, at the time thought to be "no big deal" since it had been fully removed. Fast forward to December 2018, I felt a lump under my right arm and after debating for a few weeks, went to the doctor for an ultrasound and ultimately a biopsy which diagnosed the spread of melanoma.

I was then referred to the team of specialists at Massey Cancer Center. After being an Oncology nurse for nearly 20 years, it was very different being the patient. After two surgeries, numerous scans and a year of Keytruda treatments every 3 weeks, I am officially cancer-free and in "surveillance mode".

I cannot speak highly enough about the excellent care I received at VCU Massey Cancer Center. From the melanoma specialist, Dr. Poklepovic and my surgeon, Dr. Phan, as well the nursing and support staff, I received expert care. There were a few times when I was an emotional mess, and the nurse practitioners Alison Smith and Cheryl Wood showed me so much kindness and understanding. I was so lucky to have their expertise and support through this and I want to help support Massey Cancer Center in return.

In addition to the support of my family, friends and co-workers, one of the things that helped me cope with my diagnosis was riding my bike on the Capital Trail.

On October 3rd, Rick and I will attempt our first "century" ride by riding the entire Virginia Capital Trail from Richmond to Jamestown AND BACK (103.4 miles total) as a fund-raiser for Massey Cancer Center.

Without the research and work being done by the doctors and researchers at Massey Cancer Center, my prognosis and life expectancy would be very, very different. Please consider making a donation to the place that saved my life.


Every advocate and every dollar matters in the fight against cancer. I'm supporting the life-saving cancer research being conducted by VCU Massey Cancer Center by fundraising in honor of those who are battling and have battled cancer.

When you make a donation towards my fundraising goal, you become part of our united Team Massey community that's dedicated to finding a cure.

Will your dollar be the one that cures cancer?


raised of $3,500 goal

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