Coppell MS West Choral Director
"Never Give Up! Never Give In!
Coppell MSWest choir teacher, Allison Hartzell, was diagnosed with rare and aggressive Stage 4 tongue and head and neck cancer in January 2017. What started as an ulcer developed into squamous cell carcinoma. On January 19th she had a semi-glossectomy surgery to remove the cancerous lesion from her tongue. The cancer was more invasive than anticipated and required Allison to undergo a right neck dissection surgery to remove 36 lymph nodes. She was treated with 6 rounds chemotherapy and 30 radiation treatments. Her passion for singing was halted as she slowly lost her voice. During this time a feeding tube was her only source of nutrition. After a 12 week recovery time, she was able to sing again and continue her love of teaching.
Unfortunately the cancer recently returned on her tongue with multiple patches of Stage 1 carcinoma in March of 2018 and Allison had to endure another partial tongue removal surgery. Pathology reports confirmed her tongue has field cancerization where a large area of tongue is affected and can quickly mutate to cancer cells. There is no cure for her dysplasia (oral pre-cancer). She is currently working with multiple cancer centers across Texas and the United States searching for the best therapy options available. Unfortunately her choices are limited to observation and Keytruda immunotherapy costing almost $8,000 per infusion. Allison’s disease will need continuous procedures and monitoring for years to follow.
There is financial need for surgeries, immunotherapy, scans, medication and follow-up care. Unfortunately, the placement of her cancer is detrimental to her career as a choir teacher. She continues working on her speech and strength for a full recovery back to her love of teaching music. Her husband, Rick, is lovingly at her side, taking care of her and their two young children, Madison(7) and Hunter(2). Due to the hospitalizations, Rick has also had to take time from work to care for Allison and their family.
The funds we raise will be used to help cover the accumulating medical bills, treatments, medication and lost wages for Allison and her family. Additional funds will go to The Oral Cancer Foundation- https://oralcancerfoundation.org/.