From the lung cancer death of “Seinfeld” actress Kathryn Kates to a patient with cancer who broke a rowing world record, here’s what’s happening in the cancer landscape this week.
Actress Kathryn Kates died from lung cancer.
Kathryn Kates, an actress known for her roles in “Seinfeld,” “The Rye” and “The Dinner Party,” died this week from lung cancer.
Kates was 73 at the time of her death and died peacefully in Florida, surrounded by her family, her agents Ben Jordan and Erica Bines confirmed.
“She was a dear client and friend of ours,” Jordan wrote in a statement.
Kates had also made appearances in well-known shows like “Lizzie McGuire,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Orange Is the New Black.” Most recently, she played Angie DeCarlo in a 2021 film spin-off of “The Sopranos” called “The Many Saints of Newark.”
“My heart is broken, she was the best, an angel,” Kates’ manager, Bob McGowan, wrote in a statement to USA TODAY. “The entire time she was sick, she never complained.”
An Instagram post shared on Kates’ account after her death read, “Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there. Keep me alive in your beautiful hearts with unforgettable memories. Teach others what you've learned from me and I will live in forever.”
A mail carrier surprised a 7-year-old with cancer with a truck and uniform.
A mail carrier named Van Singletary in Santa Ana, California, befriended a 7-year-old boy who lives in one of the houses on his route. The boy, Jacob Hayward, has stage 4 kidney cancer.
For years, Hayward has watched Singletary deliver his mail, and would dress up as a mail carrier to grab the mail and deliver it to his parents. According to Singletary, it became the highlight of his day.
“All the doctors and nurses, child life specialists, even patients, other kids on the other floors, would write him a note, knowing that he wasn't able to leave his room,” Hayward’s mom told ABC 7. “So, it was excitement for him every day to check the mailbox.”
Hayward’s specific diagnosis is a Wilms tumor, and the cancer has spread to his lungs. He has already undergone over 50 rounds of chemotherapy as well as multiple radiation treatments and surgeries.
For his seventh birthday, his mom asked Singletary if he could take him on a tour of the local post office — but the carrier decided to instead go above and beyond.
He surprised him with a child-sized mail truck of his own and a matching uniform.
“What he did will be something we remember for the rest of our lives,” Hayward’s dad said.
YouTuber Melanie Ham died from cancer at age 36.
Melanie Ham, a crafting YouTuber who made videos about sewing, crocheting and DIY tutorials, died at age 36 this month.
Ham’s husband, Robert, shared the tragic news through a post on her Instagram account. Ham had shared in August 2020 that she was diagnosed with epithelioid angiomyolipoma, a rare cancer type that falls under the sarcoma category.
“I feel confident in my doctors and that with some surgery and targeted medication I’ll be good as new,” Ham wrote in a 2020 blog post. “But could I ask a favor? If you are a praying person, would you pray for us?”
Ham died just nine days before the couple’s 16-year wedding anniversary.
"Despite the deep grief my family and I feel today we want to celebrate an amazing woman and a life well-lived,” her husband wrote. “She loved passionately, created beautifully, provided abundantly and was my best friend all the way to the end."
She had undergone surgery in May 2021 but developed new symptoms just five weeks after, and a scan revealed the cancer had spread and became more aggressive. She then underwent more intense chemotherapy, eventually switching treatments but remaining hopeful.
Ham’s YouTube fanbase expressed their grief and devotion through a flood of comments on social media.
"She can now walk, and sing, and dance in a way her body did not allow over the last few months,” Ham’s husband wrote.
A rower with late-stage cervical cancer broke a world record for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean.
Kat Cordiner is a 42-year-old rower from St. Neots in the United Kingdom who has late-stage cervical cancer. She recently broke a world record with two teammates, Charlotte Irving and Abby Johnston, for rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.
Cordiner and her teammates rowed from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to the English Harbour in Antigua in 42 days, seven hours and 17 minutes in a 25-foot boat named “Dolly Parton.” During the trek, they rowed for two hours on and two hours off continuously.
"Everyone tells you what an amazing experience it is, but no one tells you how difficult it actually is. ... Nothing prepares you for the first 10 days, they were very emotional for all of us and then you settle into a routine and it's fine, we underestimated maybe how tough it would be,” Cordiner told BBC.
The three women made it through scorching heat, dark night-time ocean waves, sleep deprivation, sharks trailing their boat and blisters and calluses. Cordiner may be the first patient with cancer to have completed the challenge.
Despite having cancer, she planned for the journey for a long period of time but had to pause her training for treatment. Her cancer kept worsening, and she found out she needed heart surgery for a cardiac tumor.
"It was only in May last year that I started training and I'm just glad that I got to start the race and ecstatic that I got to finish it,” she said to Sky News.
While she is currently considered in remission, Cordiner explained that her doctors told her that she may only have several years to live, which is why she wants to make the most of them.
"I don't know how long I'll be in remission,” she added. “A lot of people think cancer/chemo/death. But today the drugs are so much better — you can live your life with cancer. People live for years on treatment."
The three women are also hoping to raise donation money for Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
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