Mission Possible

A Family’s Lifesaving Care at MSK

By Kimberlie Ivey-Liccardi

I have a close connection to the Mission Impossible theme song.

As a child, I would accompany my mother to her appointments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). Humming the suspense-filled tune under my breath, I spent hours exploring the hallways and being treated to ice cream by nurses. I was kept in the dark about my mother’s care. When she emerged—with a clean bill of health—after treatment for a blood disorder, I almost missed our trips to the Upper East Side.

Later, I rarely thought about the Mission Impossible theme song. Then, in 2011, I developed rectal bleeding. I assumed it was minor. I was 45, running, biking, swimming, and weightlifting, all while raising my two-year-old son. Cancer never crossed my mind.

Kimberlie Ivey-Liccardi with her son

Kimberlie Ivey-Liccardi, pictured here with her son, benefited from the specialized care MSK donors like you make possible.

An Unexpected Diagnosis

I went to my family doctor, who for years could never remember my name. I learned I had a mass. When the test results came back, my physician asked me by name to take a seat. The blood drained from my face as I realized it must be bad, really bad. Cue the Mission Impossible theme song. I was diagnosed with stage 3B early onset colorectal cancer. While the mass was large and low, it hadn’t metastasized.

I knew that I would seek care at MSK. My mother’s oncologist referred me to a brilliant colorectal cancer surgeon, who quickly put together a team of MSK experts. Their goal: to remove the tumor while preserving as much functionality as possible. Surgery alone would not achieve the desired result, so I enrolled in an MSK clinical trial. The team handled all the logistics. I just had to show up.

Innovation Is Key

The road was long, with surprises along the way. But thanks to MSK’s ever-evolving approach to cancer, my team had the tools, technology, and skills to meet each challenge. I have now been cancer-free for more than five years. Looking back on my journey, it is clear that the innovative research and treatments that helped my mother and saved my life were made possible by generous donors who supported MSK.

Today, colorectal cancer is on the rise among people under the age of 50. MSK has already made headway by opening a dedicated center, the first of its kind worldwide, for patients in this age group diagnosed with colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers.

Paying It Forward

To support progress like this, I have decided to include MSK in my estate plans. I want to ensure that medical teams like the one that helped me have the best resources to not only fight my cancer but support young patients with full lives ahead of them.

Funding life-changing research and care doesn’t have to be an impossible mission. I urge you to join me by remembering MSK in your long-range plans. Together we can make a difference for more people with cancer and their families for generations to come. Contact the Office of Planned Giving at 800-688-1827 or plannedgiving@mskcc.org for more information on how you can make a difference.

 

Return to Planned Giving Home