Sharron Santefort is a special education teacher at Andrew High School in Tinley Park who's devoted her entire career to educating others. But in the fall of 2005, Sharron learned a valuable lesson of her own.
"My siblings kept nagging me to get a colonoscopy since I'd never had one," she recalls. "I got tired of their nagging, so I went ahead and scheduled the test."
Unfortunately, the results were not what she expected: advanced colorectal cancer that had spread to the liver.
"I was shocked," she explains. "I had never had any symptoms at all."
Also surprising was her discovery that colorectal cancer ran in the family. Several uncles had battled the disease over the years.
As a veteran teacher, Sharron's used to having the answers. But cancer was a subject she knew very little about. So she quickly learned as much as she possibly could about colorectal cancer and its treatment options. Then she turned to Ingalls.
When Ingalls cancer experts recommended a clinical trial as the best treatment option, Sharron didn't hesitate.
"My goal was to be cured so I was willing to do whatever they said," she said.
Sharron enrolled in a clinical trial at Ingalls in 2005. Despite an ominous diagnosis initially, she beat the odds. Today, Sharron's cancer is in complete remission, and this energetic educator gives nothing but high marks to her cancer doctors and to Ingalls.
"It's wonderful to be able to participate in a major clinical trial so close to home - what an advantage for patients who live in the south suburbs."