At first glance, it may not seem like Lisa Wells has struggled with health issues.
But the Crestwood resident defeated two types of cancer before hitting her 40th birthday. Less than two years out from her latest diagnosis, Wells recently became a big fundraiser for an annual cancer walk in the area.
At the age of six, Wells was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Doctors in Louisville gave the young Wells a 20 percent chance of surviving her childhood cancer. After her diagnosis, Wells traveled to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
For treatment, Wells was enrolled into a case study aimed at finding out if a surgery and chemotherapy combination or surgery only was the best way to treat osteosarcoma. Wells was placed in a surgery- only group and had her left leg amputated at the hip as a child. A few years ago she found out she was the sole survivor from the surgery-only group.
"It changed the way they do research," Lisa said of her childhood treatment.
Last year, Lisa was diagnosed with cancer again, this time it was colorectal. After almost a year of radiation therapy, chemotherapy treatments and a partial colectomy, she is now in remission.
As a former St. Jude kid, Lisa recently noticed a sign for the annual St. Jude's walkathon in her local gym. With roughly three weeks until the event, she started a fundraising team called, St. Jude's Miracle, with her husband, Joe, an attorney at James and Wells PSC, and went to work on fundraising.
"When you look back on something like (having cancer), it can be a horrible memory, but it’s a good memory for me because of St. Jude," Lisa said.
At the walkathon this past Saturday, the Wells’ St. Jude's Miracle team raised nearly $7,400, making them one of the top fundraisers for the event. Lisa was the top individual fundraiser with a total of $4,000.
"We've guilted, begged, pleaded and everything else on Facebook to get donations," Joe said.
After her success in fundraising for the St. Jude’s event, the Wells want to continue finding ways to support cancer research.
Lisa said she wants to help other families affected by cancer by fundraising, since her own family was taken care of by St. Jude’s when she was dealing with her bone cancer. Those interested in donating to St, Jude can do so by going to stjude.org and clicking on the green donate now button. Donations can be made in the name of Lisa or Joe Wells.
After defeating two types of cancer, Lisa Wells said her latest goal is a simple one.
"I want to grow old with my husband and see my grandkids,” Lisa said. “That's my biggest hope.”