Sean Cate
Sean Cate
September 26, 2023 ·  3 min read

Mom with terminal cancer planned a farewell trip with her son. Then, the unthinkable happened.

Leslie Stone’s life took an unexpected turn in July 2020 when she experienced troubling symptoms that led her to the doctor’s office.1 Little did she know that this would mark the beginning of a remarkable journey filled with ups and downs, ultimately culminating in a twist of fate that defied all odds. Here is Leslie’s extraordinary story of resilience, love, and hope as she faced a terminal cancer diagnosis and embarked on a farewell trip with her son, only to experience the unimaginable.

Terminal Cancer, A Jarring Diagnosis

In July 2020, Leslie Stone, a 60-year-old art professor from Orange County, California, was confronted with a distressing reality when she experienced vaginal bleeding. Concerned about this alarming symptom, Leslie sought medical attention and received a diagnosis that would forever change her life. She learned that she had a cancerous tumor in her uterus.

Initially, there was a glimmer of hope as it appeared that a hysterectomy might be the solution. Leslie courageously faced this diagnosis, believing she could overcome this aggressive cancer.

Leslie Stone
Despite trying chemotherapy, Leslie’s uterine cancer continued to spread. Image Credit: Leslie Stone

A Relentless Battle

However, hope gave way to harsh reality when, just two and a half weeks after the initial surgery, doctors discovered the return of the cancer. Leslie’s resilience was tested as she embarked on a challenging treatment journey, enduring multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. These treatments’ physical and emotional toll was immense, yet Leslie faced each day with unwavering determination.

Despite her unyielding spirit, Thanksgiving weekend in 2020 delivered devastating news: her cancer had continued to spread. Leslie received the disheartening label of “terminal,” leaving her in a state of shock and despair.

A Glimpse of Hope: Keytruda Treatment vs Terminal Cancer

Just when it seemed like all hope was lost, Leslie received a life-changing phone call from her doctor. He informed her of a potential ray of hope in the form of a treatment called Keytruda. Although the road ahead was uncertain, this immunotherapy drug held the promise of a fighting chance.

As Leslie started her treatment with Keytruda, she faced challenging side effects. Her stomach swelled, she experienced intense abdominal pain, and her journey was uncertain. However, amid the turmoil, Leslie’s body responded positively to the treatment. Her pain subsided, and her condition improved dramatically.

Leslie Stone with her son
Leslie and her son, Tripp. Image Credit: Leslie Stone

A Farewell Trip Turns Into a Celebration

Before starting immunotherapy, Leslie had come to terms with the idea of saying farewell to her loved ones. She made plans for her possessions and sought to create lasting memories with her son, Tripp. Together, they planned a farewell road trip across the country, intending to visit friends and family one last time and give Tripp unforgettable experiences to remember his mother.

However, just before their departure, Leslie received a life-altering call from her doctor. Her last CT scan had shown zero cancer. The news was nothing short of miraculous and transformed their farewell trip into a celebration of life.

Leslie and Tripp embarked on a 3,000-mile journey, spanning from Orange County, California, to the Florida Keys, Washington, D.C., New York City, Niagara Falls, and Ohio. Their trip became a joyous celebration of hope, resilience, and the precious moments of life.

Leslie Stone’s journey is a testament to the extraordinary power of hope and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of a daunting terminal diagnosis. Her story serves as a reminder that even when life presents its most challenging obstacles, there is always room for hope and unexpected moments of triumph.

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  1. Mom with terminal cancer planned a farewell trip with her son. Then she was cured.” Today. Meghan Holohan. September 19, 2023.