Eric Wendel was three years old in 1966 when he developed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). At the time, the survival rate was dismal: His parents were told he would probably live no more than a year. But Eric’s doctors at Roswell Park were taking a bold new approach to leukemia treatment, conducting clinical trials that laid the foundation for today’s 90% ALL survival rate.
The book, part family memoir, and part medical narrative, recalls life in a close-knit family filled with love and adventure, the bruised shin that led to a devastating diagnosis, and the heroism of the doctors at Roswell Park in Buffalo, New York
The author’s daughter, then a medical student at Georgetown Medical School, told her father about this amazing success story. Tim Wendel soon discovered that many of the doctors at the forefront of this effort had cared for his brother Eric. Wendel went in search of this extraordinary group, interviewing Lucius Sinks, James Holland, Donald Pinkel, and others in the field. If there were a Mount Rushmore for cancer research, they would be on it.
Despite being ostracized by their medical peers, these doctors developed modern-day chemotherapy practices and invented the blood centrifuge machine, helping thousands of children live longer lives. Part family memoir and part medical narrative, Cancer Crossings explores how the Wendel family found the courage to move ahead with their lives. They learned to sail on Lake Ontario, cruising across miles of open water together, even as the campaign against cancer changed their lives forever.