Runner Profile: Adam Chamberlain
Grateful Family Member
Running for the doctors, nurses and the treatment that gave his father his life back
When Adam Chamberlain’s dad learned that his best chance of surviving kidney cancer involved a very intense treatment called High Dosage Interleukin 2 (HD-IL2), he took action. Adam walked with his family straight from his dad’s appointment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute across the street to see David McDermott, MD, the Director of Biologic Therapy and Cutaneous Oncology Programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
“BIDMC is the only hospital in the area, and one of only a handful in the country, that offers this specific treatment for patients with kidney cancer,” Adam (right, with his dad) says. “By the end of our meeting with Dr. McDermott, we had started the process of enrolling my dad in treatment.”
Scott Chamberlain’s battle with cancer began in November 2009 when complications with medications after a heart attack led to the discovery of a 10-centimeter mass in his left kidney. The pathology report confirmed kidney cancer, stage TIIIA, a diagnosis that came with a high probability of recurrence and a low five-year survival rate.
After several recurrences and multiple surgeries, Scott was faced with the choice of taking medications that might slow the progression of, but not stop, the cancer; or taking a chance with HDIL-2, which offered a 10 percent chance of remission.
HDIL-2 is a form of immunotherapy. The treatment boosts the body’s immune system by helping "natural killer" (NK) cells live longer and work better. While HDIL-2 treatment may be effective in helping NK cells kill cancer cells, it is also a very intense type of treatment that can be accompanied by extreme side effects.
Scott had to pass a series of tests to ensure he was healthy enough to start treatment. Adam says his dad was well prepared for these tests because he had completed his fourth half marathon just one month earlier.
“You see, along with all the negative things happening to his body, he also started running,” says Adam. “Running became a therapeutic distraction that allowed him to keep his body healthy, his mind clear, and his outlook focused on his next goal.”
Running also brought the Chamberlain family together. Adam ran the Walt Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon with his sister and dad just five months after Scott’s first kidney surgery.
“We were determined not to let a little kidney surgery get in the way of reaching our goal of finishing our first half marathon together,” Adam says.
The following year, Adam’s mom joined them for the same half marathon. And then, in March of 2012, a mere three months after lung surgery, when most patients are still recovering, Adam and his dad were on the start line of the New Bedford Half Marathon.
While Scott was receiving HDIL-2 treatment, Adam completed two full marathons. Boston 2014 will be his third.
“As a tribute to my father taking on the challenge of the ‘Granddaddy’ of all cancer treatments, I would like to take on the challenge of the ‘Granddaddy" of all marathons,’ says Adam. “Crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon with Team BIDMC on my chest will make me proud, not only for my own individual accomplishment, but knowing I helped support an amazing institution — the doctors, nurses and the treatment that gave my father his life back!”
TeamBIDMC|Tread Strong: the 2014 Boston Marathon Team
Funds donated on behalf of Adam Chamberlain will benefit BIDMC’s Annual Fund, supporting a wide range of programs that need it most. The Annual Fund supports promising research projects, such as cancer genetics investigations, annual operating costs to support staffing positions in social work and other areas, career development opportunities, expansion of clinical spaces and academic and teaching programs.
To donate to Adam or any BIDMC runner, visit bidmctreadstrong.org.
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