Survivor’s story makes national news

By Bryan Richardson

A local inspirational tale is becoming national and international news.

Aricca Wallace’s story about her cervical cancer treatment will be featured at 5:30 p.m. Monday during broadcasts on both NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News.

Dr. Christian Hinrichs will discuss his experimental treatment that saved Wallace’s life during the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, which lasts from Friday to Tuesday in Chicago.

Wallace, who lives in Manhattan, said she even did an interview with Hinrichs for a French TV station.

She said it’s important to spread the word about the potential her treatment can provide others.

“There’s hope out there,” she said. “I have been cancer free for 17 months after being told I had a year to live in January 2012.”

Wallace was diagnosed with cervical cancer in July 2011, changing her life as well as the lives of her husband, Matt, and two sons, Mason and Marccus.

Multiple rounds of chemotherapy didn’t work for Wallace, which led at one point to discussions of funeral arrangements among friends and family.

Just when all hope seemed lost, Wallace found out on May 4, 2012, that she would be a part of an experimental treatment at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

Wallace became “Patient No. 2” in the trial. The other patient hadn’t shown signs of the treatment working. But it did work for Wallace.

Dec. 22, 2012, was the day a scan revealed no cancer in her body.

Aricca’s journey was featured in the July 28, 2013, edition of The Mercury.

At the time of the article, she had had seven months of clean scans.

On Thursday, Wallace received a clean scan report for the 17th consecutive month.

“It’s just good to be able to go through summer and spring and enjoy my kids,” she said. “I don’t have to leave my family anymore to go for treatment.”

Although Wallace said doctors can never say she’s cured of cancer, the constant anxiety for each test subsided this January when doctors said she showed complete response to the treatment.

“It lifted a bunch of weight from my shoulders,” she said.

Wallace said she doesn’t know why she was chosen to go through her cancer journey, but she hopes to provide inspiration and information for others.

“If I had to go through it because I’m a vocal person and don’t mind speaking up, then I hope it helps somebody,” she said.

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