By Sarah Garcia
For Alexandra Buchanan, Miles for Moffitt started out as a way to rally together as her dad underwent treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma last year.
This year, her team Together We Will (Fight Cancer) runs with a new purpose: to celebrate that her dad, Mark Buchanan, is now cancer free.
Initially diagnosed in 2017, her father underwent chemotherapy for five months, and was then enrolled in a clinical trial for an immunotherapy treatment called CAR T. Following the treatment he was announced cancer-free, but unfortunately relapsed in September 2018.
After additional treatments were unsuccessful, Dr. Frederick Locke wanted to try a stem cell transplant. Having difficulty finding a donor, Buchanan’s siblings and children, including Alexandra, were tested. All were a 50% match, but Dr. Locke chose to use Alexandra’s stem cells.
In June 2019, Alexandra underwent an apheresis process to extract her stem cells, and her dad received them the very next day. The transplant process took a total of four months from start to finish. “It has been a long journey, but he has fought harder than anyone I've ever met,” Alexandra said, “and as of September 2019, there have been no signs of cancer in his body!”
Alexandra says her dad is now at home as he continues to recover, and he hopes to return to his teaching job at Indian Rocks Christian School next year.
On November 23, Alexandra and her friends and family will lace up their sneakers and head to Downtown Tampa for the 14th annual Miles for Moffitt event. For her and her team, it’s about giving thanks, celebrating and working to ensure others have the same chance her dad had.
“I want to continue to thank Moffitt for all they've done for my family, and what they continue to do for others who are fighting their own battle.”