Patient Gives Back to Mesothelioma Program

This story originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of the Life.Giving.Breakthroughs. donor newsletter.

When Ken Hall learned he had mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer, he worried how the disease would affect his future. Then to his surprise, Raphael Bueno, MD, chief of thoracic surgery and director of the International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said he could be golfing again within six months of having the cancerous tumor removed. When Hall was back on the course just two months after surgery, he was astonished.

“I didn’t believe it was possible, and now here I am competing in tournaments again,” says Hall, who recently committed $1 million to BWH for mesothelioma and lung cancer research. “I really gave this gift from the heart. It feels good knowing I can help make a difference in mesothelioma care.”

Hall, a Virginia Beach native, had caught his cancer in the early stage, and moved quickly to conduct a nationwide search for a treatment center. While visiting the IMP at BWH, he says, “I was so impressed with the program and the nursing staff. Everyone was so wonderful, and when I heard Dr. Bueno speak at the patient orientation, I knew I had come to the right place.”

“Our team has made great strides in discovering genetic mutations that may lead to mesothelioma, but we still have a long way to go,” says Bueno. “Ken’s outstanding support ensures we can make even more progress for patients like him.”

Indeed, Hall’s surgery at BWH has slowed the cancer in its tracks and he is feeling well. During the course of his treatment, Hall spent many hours reading as much as he could about mesothelioma. When he found out how important fresh tumor samples are to improving personalized treatment for the disease, he donated his tissue to the IMP’s research facility.

“Now I can say I’ve had the fortunate experience of supporting the program in more ways than one!” Hall says. “When you’re taken care of as I was in those months, you just want to do everything you can to give back.”