There are two dates that Nicole Petersen Murr will not soon forget.
One is March 14, 2019. That was the day when she was diagnosed with HER2 triple positive invasive ductal carcinoma, an aggressive form of breast cancer.
The other is Oct. 28, 2020. That was the day when she got to ring the bell at City of Hope Newport Beach, indicating the completion of her cancer treatment. Shes been in remission for the last three months.
Sometimes Im stuck on, OK, whens my youngest daughters birthday? Petersen Murr said. But I can remember those dates easier. Its crazy.
In between the two dates were a double mastectomy, 20 rounds of chemotherapy and 37 rounds of radiation.
I was in an oxygen chamber for almost two months for some surgery complications, said Petersen Murr, 39, a Fullerton resident. I also got COVID. Anything that could happen did happen, but my team was awesome at City of Hope. Thats why Im able to talk about it now, and have a smile on my face while I do so.
City of Hope Newport Beach, which has a clinic at Fashion Island, celebrated its one-year anniversary this week. It is City of Hopes only location in Orange County.
City of Hope in Newport Beach celebrated its one-year anniversary this week.
(Don Leach/ Staff Photographer)
Petersen Murr was the sites first chemotherapy patient. She has had an eventful time lately. In the midst of her treatment, she said she got married last August to Justin Murr, creating a blended family of five children.
She returned to the campus Wednesday for a one-year anniversary celebration, which included a drive-by from the Newport Beach Fire Department.
It almost brought me to tears, being back there, Petersen Murr said. When youre in the middle of it, its not something that you necessarily think that you can get to the other side of. To be there yesterday and see how much its grown and how many people are going there now, it was emotional to me. I didnt think it would be, but I got pretty choked up. I couldnt believe its been a year.
Annette Walker, president of City of Hope Orange County, said there have been about 7,000 visits since the Newport Beach location first opened. Thats impressive, she said, considering the site is a ground up location.
Its been going on a steady incline from the day it opened, which is exactly what we wanted, Walker said. Were really happy with where were at right now.
City of Hope plans to build the center of its Orange County network in Irvine, Walker said, at the Five Point Gateway near the Irvine Train Station.
What we have in Newport Beach is a clinic, and we have specialists there, but we dont have the full breadth of City of Hope services, she said.
Right now, were under construction for a cancer center in Irvine. We hope that before the end of the year, were going to break ground on Orange Countys only specialty cancer hospital. Everybody on that campus, top to bottom, will be very accustomed to helping assist with cancer patients, the same way it is in Duarte.
Dr. Wade Smith, left, and patient Nicole Petersen Murr are pictured at City of Hope Newport Beach on Wednesday.
(Courtesy of Abigail Idiaquez )
Still, the Newport Beach clinic has provided convenience to Orange County patients, even during the time of COVID-19. In the past year, City of Hope Orange County has hired Dr. Edward Kim as its physician-in-chief and Wendy Austin as its senior vice president of operations.
Petersen Murr followed her doctors, Dr. Wade Smith and nurse practitioner Linda Buck, from a facility in Orange to the City of Hope when it opened.
We find this location to be very convenient for existing City of Hope patients, who previously would have to make a long drive up to Duarte even during weekly cancer treatments, said Smith, a Newport Beach resident whos a medical oncologist and whose primary focus is breast cancer.
To be able to be situated where we are, we can provide care for City of Hope patients as far south as San Diego County, as far east as Riverside County, and all the in-between communities from Duarte and ourselves.
Petersen Murr believes the treatment she has received is second to none. And she is a success story.
We fortunately have a lot of those, Walker said. It makes it worth getting up in the morning to do the things that were doing, because we know what a difference it makes to our community and to individuals.
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