"He strengthens you with the scientific knowledge he provides, with his courage as a role model and with his fighting spirit.”
RECEIVING A LUNG CANCER diagnosis is stunning enough, yet in the aftermath of that diagnosis, the worst is yet to come. Dr. Aaron Mansfield of Mayo Clinic, a physician who diagnoses and treats lung cancer, is the best to come in this field of battling and defeating this disease. What do we say that?
Leah “Cherry” Lommen says, “First of all, and most importantly, Dr. Mansfield treats all of you: your body, your emotions and your soul. He gives you emotional, physical and optimistic hope. He arms you with what you need to confront and battle this disease. You are not alone because he is with you all the way in this journey. He strengthens you with the scientific knowledge he provides, with his courage as a role model and with his fighting spirit.”
Mary Rohrer’s family brought Hans Swart, an army colonel from Johannesburg, South Africa, and his wife at last-minute notice to see Dr. Mansfield at Mayo Clinic.
“We have never in our lives seen anything like this man,” Hans Swart’s wife said. “We were overwhelmed with his care of Hans. He gave us the tools we needed for a treatment plan in South Africa, including helping locate a doctor in Johannesburg who would take on the work needed to make the plan work. Never mind the money — he didn’t care about that. He cared about getting Hans’ life back to him! Money was not his (goal); taking care of us the best way he knew, armed with his working knowledge of lung cancer, was. He said, ‘We will find a way; don’t worry about the money.’ We left the exam room with more than the knowledge of lung cancer, but also with the spirit we needed to keep the faith and carry on! Besides all of that, he is so intelligent, too!”
Lommen adds, “My husband, Dick, and I feel very strongly about how Dr. Mansfield promotes the patient and caregiver understanding of the diagnosis and treatment options. He also is a leader in imparting his knowledge to other practitioners worldwide. He helped us locate clinical trials pertinent to my situation. Dr. Mansfield is the guiding light to beating this disease. His activ- ity in research and education is known globally. Most importantly, he is passing his knowledge on to others who in turn will help beat lung cancer.”
Rohrer, a cancer survivor, says, “Dr. Mansfield received the 2018 Excellence in Teaching award from Mayo Clinic. He is a top reviewer for the Journal of Thoracic Oncology. One thing we all agree upon, Dr. Aaron Mansfield walks and talks Mayo Clinic’s mantra of ‘The needs of the patient come first.’ He lives and breathes this mantra daily. When you are with Dr. Mansfield, you feel there is nothing more important to him at that moment than listening and working with you in defeating this disease. His are not 15- to 20-minute appointments. His time is whatever it takes to meet the needs of that patient.”
We need more doctors like Dr. Mansfield in this world. He is truly a point of light, an actively practicing role model for other practitioners in treating lung cancer diseases. It is because of Dr. Mansfield that many of us are not just still living, but we are living a life of quality.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Leah “Cherry” Lommen died shortly after this essay was submitted in July 2020. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends.