Woman gets cancer drug released early after posting video pleading for help
In a moving video, Darlene Gant, 46, asked for the early release of a cancer drug under compassionate use.
April 30th, 2012
01:21 PM ET

Woman gets cancer drug released early after posting video pleading for help

Darlene Gant sat in her hospital bed, barely able to lift her head. She was writing letters to her 11-year-son for his upcoming birthday, his eventual high school and college graduations and even a future marriage.

"Did you always know I loved you?" she wrote in a card meant for his 12th birthday. "Of all the things in my life I could have or should have done differently there’s one thing I’d never change, having you as my son."

Gant, 46, who is suffering from stage-four breast cancer, has been told she doesn't have long to live. She worried she wouldn't be around to see her son grow up despite a trial drug that could prolong her life.

That drug, pertuzumab, was scheduled to be released in June when the Food and Drug Administration was expected to approve it. But Gant wouldn't have that long, doctors said.

So she posted a video on YouTube pleading for the early release of the drug under compassionate use, which allows for an unapproved drug to be used if no other treatment is available.

In the video, she holds up a slew of cards for her son for those future occasions to show what she would miss if she couldn't get the drug.

"We’re planning out cards and videos and books and passing on our final words and trying to raise our kids from beyond," Gant said as tears stream down her face. "How sad is that?"

The moving video, which has more than 30,000 views on YouTube, and Gant's story were quickly picked up by media companies around the world.

And then the phone lines of Genentech, the company behind the drug, began ringing off the hook.

It agreed to release the drug, and Gant began her first dose last week.

"My dream is hopefully this video would wake somebody up to think," she says in the video.

And it appears her dream, at least for now, is partially fulfilled.

Now she's hoping the drug will help give her a better quality of life, even if she lives a little longer until Mother's Day. Perhaps, she can make it to October and give her son a birthday card herself.

"If it gave us two months or a year, that’s priceless for a family," she said.

Gant said she had seen so many of her friends die from breast cancer, including her sister-in-law at age 36.

"It's not normal to have a 30-year-old woman with three young kids around a casket peeking in and crying,"she said. "And I’ve seen it too many times."

Gant said she hopes whatever happens, her story brings attention to the need for more treatments, trials and research to combat cancer.

"God knows if it helps one person stand up and say I'll do the same thing or I'll fight, I'm happy," Gant told CNN affiliate Bay News 9 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

After all, she said, it's not just her suffering.

"There’s too many of us dying," Gant said.

soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. UnlosehonnA

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    May 2, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tearful Story

    I wish her the best of luck. It touched me she was creating "future messages" for her children to view on their birthdays... a lasting legacy... I wish I had such gifts from my father, who passed when I was 11. God bless you.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Robert Traver

    Where were all these blessings when my wife was taken from me? I now have over a quatermillion dollars in hospital bills and am still without my wife who died 01 03 11!

    May 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike e

      Sorry for your loss.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anya

      Robert, I'm so sorry for your loss. I will keep you in my prayers, I hope someday you will find the peace and strength you need to find happiness again. Death can be so cruel :(

      May 2, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colleen

      I can not imagine the pain you are in... I am so sorry for your loss. I am thinking and praying for you.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. Robert Traver

    I am happy you were helped!

    May 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
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  7. wuzzup

    I want her to be at peace. I want her to feel better. I want her child to be taken care of if she should die...

    But, to believe that there's a drug that can save her life? That's so stupid. That's so lame. That's such misdirected and desperate thinking.

    If she is in advanced stage of cancer, no drug will save her, now. Just her body and her immune system can do that, provided her liver hasn't been decimated by chemo treatments and/or radiation. Provided she's in peak physical condition.

    I would say to her, "Go ahead and believe what you want to believe. Go ahead and drop another million saving your life with money you don't have. Because, if you believe someone or some drug can save "your" body, you will surely not survive.

    We must put faith in the body God gave us. He gave us everything we need to survive. No drug, not a single one is essential to sustain human life. To betray that trust and place your faith in someone else?

    It proves this...you have learned nothing about the beauty and majesty of the human condition. What a waste.

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    There are parts that are true in what you've said Wuzzup. But a person body is like a walking chemical industry, and sometimes the body don't produce the right chemical ingredient to help fighting against a cancer or any other kind of diseases, that's when you need some kind of drugs to help your body to produce what it needs to help to fight against those. And those drugs are not and never will be release. Chemical industries and pharmaceutical industries don't want to cure those sickness, they want to find alternative that will help to treat but not to cure. It's all about making money just like anything else is. It's very sad that things had to be like that. We need to get rid of those who are the ones running behind the scene if we want a better life and freedom.

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