Couple serves up entrée for cancer cure
For most parents, a child's graduation marks a monumental milestone: with their child and with one another. Nothing could have been truer for Bath residents David and Lisa Craine when their oldest son, Jake, graduated from Archbishop Hoban High School in 2010.
"I come from a big Italian family," Lisa said. "We entertain constantly. ... Our dining room and kitchen are probably the most used rooms in our house."
Needless to say, the graduation party had to be big.
But instead of spending that day in her typical locale, tossing the last pot of capellini, Lisa was somewhere else: in bed.
"We had hundreds of people coming, and I was upstairs — in bed," she said.
Tired and hurting, Lisa struggled to simply "get through the day," but getting through the weeks and months ahead would prove to be much more difficult.
The week after the party, Lisa found out she had a 6-by-8-inch tumor on her liver. Her doctor referred her to Dr. John Fung at the Cleveland Clinic, who delivered news no young couple should ever hear: "It was cholangiocarcinoma, which is an end-stage liver cancer," she said. "And there was no cure."
The Journey Ahead
Cholangiocarcinoma, also known as bile duct cancer, affects the tube connecting the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine. It is a rare disease, occurring in only one out of every 50,000 people. The average life expectancy is just two to five years. David said the diagnosis was "devastating."
"We've spent our whole life together," he said. "The thought of losing her was really difficult."
Since then, both David and Lisa decided to live their remaining years together to the fullest. For them, that meant sharing lots of family meals, deepening their relationship with each other and God, and finding a way to make sure other families didn't have to endure this same struggle.
In June 2012, David and Lisa established the Craine's Cholangiocarcinoma Crew Fund at Akron Community Foundation. They plan to raise money for research so that one day this debilitating disease will be eradicated.
"My goal would be that no mom or dad or child would ever be sitting in that doctor's office (and find out) they have this rare cancer and there's no cure," Lisa said. "If I could spare someone else that type of news, that would be amazing."