Patient Stories

Kirk Kaszak

Small B-cell non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, 2006
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), 2016

I was blindsided when I was told I had cancer."

Kirk Kaszak has successfully completed a 100-mile bike ride through Lake Tahoe; was part of a relay team in the Pittsburgh Marathon; earned a martial arts black belt; and a master’s degree in business administration. All of this after he was diagnosed with cancer…twice.

It was about 10 years ago, when Kaszak, who was only in his mid-40’s, found he could barely walk up a small slope in his yard to his dog, Bogey.

“I was out of breath and couldn’t believe how out of shape I was,” said Kaszak.

Kaszak wasn’t out of shape. A trip to the doctors and an eventual biopsy led to the diagnosis of small B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. And, then his real journey began.

Kaszak now knows there were symptoms that he ignored or just thought were the result of working long hours. In addition to shortness of breath, Kaszak also experienced fatigue and exhaustion along with night sweats. When a primary care physician noticed his swollen neck, a biopsy of the lymph nodes in his neck detected the presence of cancer.

A. Odell Richardson

Lymphoma, 2016

I asked for the best doctor he could refer and was lucky enough to be referred to Dr. Stan Marks. He was and is for me, the top guy!”

Two years ago, Odell Richardson said he was given a huge blessing. It was the day he suffered a heart attack.

On May 19, 2016, Richardson went to the emergency room at UPMC Shadyside with severe indigestion and following several tests, doctors found almost complete blockages in all four of his main heart arteries. During his heart surgery, the surgeon noticed an infection in his chest and sent the tissue for a biopsy.  

Richardson was diagnosed with cancer. He was not only recovering from open heart surgery but was now facing lymphoma.  

“My cardiologist didn’t know much about oncology,” said Richardson. “I asked for the best doctor he could refer, and I was lucky enough to be referred to Dr. Stan Marks. He was and is for me, the top guy!”

Barb Bowser

Follicular Lymphoma, 2004
Large B-cell Lymphoma, 2008

I have heartfelt gratitude and I admire him tremendously."

When your life is placed in someone else’s hands, it’s hard to describe the feelings and the emotions and then the relationship that develops over time.

That’s how cancer survivor, Barb Bowser describes her doctor and now friend, Dr. Stanley Marks.

“I have heartfelt gratitude and I admire him tremendously,” said Barb Bowser.

Barb Bowser gets emotional when speaking of Dr. Stanley Marks, a man she met 14 years ago when she was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. She didn’t know where to turn. As she and her husband, Gary, sat with their two sons, Gary and Kurt, all of them shocked and devastated at the news, it was a mutual friend that led them Dr. Marks.

Our Mission

The Stanley M. Marks Blood Cancer Research Fund continues to make an indelible impact on the overall body of knowledge of cancer treatment, detection, and prevention, the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, and the 100,000 patients it serves annually. It does so by supporting highly innovative research at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center aimed at the development of new and more effective therapies for patients with all types of cancers as well as early detection and prevention strategies to reduce the burden of cancer regionally, nationally, and globally.