Personal Stories

Knowledge gives you power … Sharing gives you strength

Families from across the globe are finding comfort in the sense of community available on the No Stomach For Cancer website.

Reading the personal stories shared by others facing issues that may be similar to your own, and being able to share your story with others who may draw strength from it…is what this place in our community is all about.

Use the Sharing Stories tools to create your own blog / journal. Be sure to send us the link along with your photo so you can share your story with others too.

Find inspirational news articles and videos about people sharing their stories In The News to help raise awareness about stomach cancer.

Yes, sharing gives you strength.

John CassanoAfter several months of sporadic and annoying indigestion, John made an appointment with his gastroenterologist. The results of a colonoscopy and endoscopy indicated he had stomach cancer. He had been in good health until this episode. Talk about life changing experiences – wow.

John is 78, retired, and has three children and three grandchildren. He and his wife Joanne enjoy condo living on Long Island where they have a lot of friends and an active social life. Joanne loves cooking and entertaining and John says this will put a crimp in her style. He also says challenges present opportunities. John faces this journey head on. Follow his journey My Cancer Ordeal, OR suck it up and DEAL with it.
February 2015

HannahHanna was diagnosed with the CDH1 gene mutation on the first day of her junior year at the University of Hartford. 10 months later, she and her younger sister Maggie, also positive for the mutation, had total gastrectomy surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Hanna is now a senior in college, and is studying physical therapy. Her blog, Genetically Challenged, is a raw, no-nonsense account of the struggles and triumphs of the CDH1and TG journey.
November 2014

AdrianaIn 2006, Adriana Walsh lost her father Steve to stomach cancer when she was just 13 years old. In 2009, she learned that she tested positive for the cdh1 mutation that took her father’s life. Her most recent endoscopy in August showed evidence of stomach cancer, so she took immediate action and had her entire stomach removed. Read about how Adriana, now 21, faced her diagnosis and follow her hope-filled, positive recovery from surgery in Young and Stomachless September 2014

Rachel Blog“Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us”

December 5, 2013 – My husband, my mom, my dad, and I sit around a round table at the hospital waiting for the genetic counsellor to join us. My husband is playing with a peg game in the room while my mom, dad and I discuss where to eat lunch that day after the appointment. It’s 11am. The genetic counsellor joins us at the table.

‘We received the results from your blood test and unfortunately, you tested positive for the CDH1 gene mutation’.

At 29 years old, I had a solid five year plan. On December 6th, all of this changed. Missing Cytosine…frameshift mutation…risk of hereditary diffuse gastric cancer.

My name is Rachel and this is my story about living with Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer syndrome. Cytosine Deleted – Life with the CDH1 genetic mutation
April 2014

Steve DangSteve Dang is a husband, father, pastor, wannabe triathlete, motorcycle enthusiast, a fan of good stories and the Oakland A’s. Cancer is part of his story, but it’s not the story. In October of 2013 their lives took a detour when Steve was diagnosed with CDH1, which led to a total gastrectomy on March 6, 2014. CDH1 took the lives of his grandma, aunt, father and sister at a young age, but now, medicine has changed the story of stomach cancer in his family. Today he’s rebuilding his life to return to the things he loves: faith, family, motorcycling and triathlons. Since then his blog, Steve Dang, has been about telling their story and the story of God’s faithfulness throughout their journey. Enjoy the ride.
April 2014

Kate Fulford

In September 2013, Kate discovered she carried the CDH1 gene mutation. At a very young age, Kate lost her mother to stomach cancer and more recently, her younger sister. Though it seemed extreme at first, she decided the only option would be to have a total gastrechtomy and underwent surgery in February 2014; the day after her 26th birthday. Losing her sister so young and learning about the gene mutation made Kate realise how short life can be and gave her the motivation to start doing the things in life that she’d always wanted to do. This prompted her to start a Bucket List and led to her creating her blog It’s the beginning, not the end to reach out to others carrying the CDH1 gene mutation and to share her stories as she starts to tick off items on her Bucket List.
February 2014

MyShira AmiraWe’re sisters/best friends writing about our lives and how it’s changed since we found out our mother at 56, was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer in December of 2012.

Journaling and writing notes to each other is sometimes the easiest way to communicate in those moments we can’t pick up the phone and talk. So we’ve decided to chronicle things, as we go and in no particular order to help us remember her and everything she went through when she’s no longer with us. Sometimes the only way to get through something like this is to learn as you go so as we figure things out, we’d like to pass it on whether good or bad, and hope it helps in some small way. The 6th Opinion
January 2014

Rick SabbidesRick Sabbides was diagnosed with Stage IV inoperable stomach and colon cancer on June 25, 2013. His CaringBridge journal was created to keep Rick’s friends and family posted on his journey. Follow along at Rick Sabbides FAITH, a place where anyone can offer support and words of hope and encouragement to Rick and his family.
November 2013


In December 2012, Marne learned she had the CDH1 gene mutation. After losing her father, aunt, grandmother and others in her family throughout her life, she knew she was not going to let stomach cancer beat her. On June 7, 2013 she had a total gastrectomy. Marne shares her story, Life Without A Stomach, in the hopes that it helps others who are preparing for or dealing with a TG and CDH1 mutation.
July 2013

Terri Maxwell

I was contacted in October 2012, just after my 1 year post op total gastrectomy anniversary on September 1, 2011. A Faces of Cancer calendar and a documentary was being done on twelve cancer survivors in the area. I jumped at the opportunity to share my story, feeling like this was my way to spread awareness about stomach cancer. I was quite nervous being filmed, and a photo shoot followed. I was just simply asked to tell my story and it was difficult. The calendar was very moving as each one of us had our own month. Thanks to Michael Brethour for doing such a wonderful fundraiser for cancer every year. Here is my video story. Terri Maxwell
July 2013


This Cancer Thing Sucks: A Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer Blog

Within the last few years, I’ve lost two close family members to stomach cancer. In 2008, I lost my cousin Rajen Sankar at age 37. In January 2012, I lost my other cousin, Sandra Sankar Poukkula (Rajen’s younger sister) at age 39. Rajen and Sandra were like an older brother and sister to me.

Back in the 90s, I also lost my aunt (my mom’s sister) of stomach cancer. This was before we knew anything about HDGC.

In Spring 2011, it was discovered that my family carries a mutation in the CDH1 gene, causing hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC). Four years ago, when Rajen died, we never knew about any of this. It was my cousin, Sandra who became proactive in stomach cancer awareness and research. I followed her lead without hesitation. She yearned to find answers after she herself was diagnosed with gastric cancer in 2011 and did the ultimate action to fight. She removed her entire stomach to prevent the cancer from spreading. Unfortunately, this drastic action was not enough and the cancer metastasized in other parts of her body Christmas 2011. We lost her a few weeks later, January 13, 2012. See Sandra’s story below. (February 2011)

More recently (May 2012) and with a heavy heart, my mom (age 59) has been diagnosed with diffuse gastric cancer as well. I am writing this blog to document the journey before me. As hard as it will be to write, I think it is important to share this experience and promote awareness of HDGC. Knowledge is power.
June 2012

Liz R.

For better or for worse my husband and I joined hands, eleven months later Cancer showed up. The Weeping Jar takes you on this journey with us from my perspective, the wife and Caregiver. Follow me!
Liz R.
April 2012

Jennifer LaiJennifer Lai is gastronomically speaking to you. Join her on her journey through the maze of a Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer diagnosis.
January 2012

Lana and MomLana is Taking Care Of My Mom Who Takes Care Of Me

They say there’s a special bond between single mothers and their children. When I was 8-years-old, I lost my father to lung cancer and my mom became the sole provider. She worked hard to make sure our needs were met. And like many immigrant families, she put all her dreams in the success of her children.

My blog chronicles my dealings with the big C as a young caregiver, the highs and the lows, and the things that happen in between when life collides with cancer. My mother has since passed away, and now I continue the story of life after caregiving.
May 2012

Sandra SankarSandra Sankar, from beautiful San Diego … My only brother died from gastric cancer at 37. I was diagnosed at 39 and found out that I have a CDH1 genetic mutation which I inherited from my dad who does not have gastric cancer. I had a total gastrectomy on Feb 18, 2011 and am still going through chemotheraphy. I am hoping to get back to my prior activities after this is through. I have put together a web site documenting my experience.
February 2011

No Stomach For Cancer was deeply saddened to learn that Sandra Sankar lost her battle with stomach cancer on January 13, 2012 at the age of 39, just over a year following her diagnosis. Sandra was a loving and giving woman, determined to tell her story and to make a difference in the lives of others. Sandra’s family shares their video tributes in loving memory of a remarkable young woman.

Sandra Sankar Poukkula, February 10, 1972 to January 13, 2012
Remembering Sandra

A tribute to Sandra’s brother, Rajen, who lost his battle to stomach cancer at the age of 37.
RJ Sankar, September 4, 1970 to February 10, 2008

Tammy AysonAn ordinary woman on an extraordinary journey. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a wife and mother of two… and this is my little diary of my journey through gastrectomy. I live in Brisbane, Australia.Tammy shares her story HDGC & Me.
July 2009

Teresa FeeneyTeresa Feeney’s blog Latest Skinny. Teresa is the fifth member of her family to undergo a total gastrectomy in as many years.
June 2010

Lee DodsonWithin 7 weeks of CDH1 diagnosis I had a total gastrectomyin Sheffield, England at the age of 31. I live with my wife and son in South Yorkshire, England whilst learning the way’s of stomachlesslife! Lee’s story HDGC and me.
November 2009

Megan McFetridgeI am Megan McFetridge, a medical assistant working for Bryn Mawr Rehab in Malvern, Pa. since sep 2007. Working with stroke and brain injury patients has taught me to treasure my health and never take life for granted. In November of 2007, after my older sister (28) was diagnosed with HDGC, I found out I had the same CDH1 gene mutation that we inherited from our mom (Jeannie Marie McFetridge 4/16/60-2/23/03). This spring, I decided to get the prophalactic TG. My surgery is scheduled for September 28, 2009. This is my story.
September 2009

Allison LevineAllison Levine (Ali) was diagnosed on April 10, 2008 with signet ring cell carcinoma (gastric cancer). Ali ended her courageous battle victorious on Monday, March 9, 2009 at the tender age of 32. Allison’s  journal & inspirational comments of visitors are a testament to her extraordinary character (Kia Kaha) & compassion. Shortly after her passing, we discovered results of genetic testing revealed a mutation of the CDH1 gene. Our family now enters a new phase of this journey to determine additional genetic results of Ali’s parents, sister (her daughter if necessary) and eventually – our nearly 3 year old son Noah. March 2009

Chad Sapieha

Chad Sapieha’s blog, Gutless. Chad had his total gastrectomy on March 2, 2009. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.
March 2009

Bethany TuckerMarch 18, 2009, my life was changed forever when Tracey Leedom (Duke Geneticist) conveyed to me that I was a carrier of the CDH1 genetic change that my mother and grandmother have. Bethany Tucker’s story.
March 2009

Brian ChelcunBrian Chelcun’s journey through total gastrectomy at the age of 26. Brian lives in Washington DC.
February 2009

Rose EvansIn three years’ time (2001-04), Rose Evans witnessed the deaths of four family members. They all had had stomach cancer. Genetic testing revealed that all four — her father, her sister, and two of her aunts (her fathers’ sisters) — had a mutation of the CDH1 gene. In 1960, her paternal grandmother had also died from stomach cancer at the age of 57. After testing positive for the gene in 2006 (at the age of 42), Rose was the first in her family to have her stomach removed to prevent diffuse gastric cancer. Rose shares her family story In the genes….

Erin and her MomErin’s Gift is a place to learn about the Sutherland family and how they have been affected by HDGC.
January 2009

Karen Chelcun SchreiberKaren Chelcun’s journey through total gastrectomy at the age of 51. Karen lives in Madison WI.
September 2008

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