Grateful family is funding research and therapy at Sylvester
By Stacey Bomser
Photography by Sonya Revell
Kristi and Dean Jernigan
hanks to the tireless work of physician-researchers like those at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, there are 18 million cancer survivors in the United States. Kristi and Dean Jernigan’s daughter is one of them.
When she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 30, the family knew that Sylvester Physician-in-Chief Craig Moskowitz, M.D., would provide the best chance of survival.
Calling him a “pioneer in lymphoma,” Kristi Jernigan credits Dr. Moskowitz’s extensive research and vast experience for serving as an “operating manual,” successfully guiding their daughter’s treatment.
“We always felt totally confident in Dr. Moskowitz’s plan,” said Jernigan. “He has the unique ability to combine the science and the art of a particular patient’s progression and response to treatment.”
With their daughter now counted among the millions of cancer survivors, the Jernigans chose to express their gratitude by making a significant gift to Sylvester. It will help support the art and music therapy classes their daughter participated in as part of her healing process, as well as Dr. Moskowitz’s research, which includes a pilot study with Tracy Crane, Ph.D., co-lead of the Cancer Control Research Program, to look into how non-medical lifestyle changes affect treatment outcome.
“Almost all lymphoma patients gain 15 to 20 pounds from their first treatment,” said Dr. Moskowitz. “We will study whether by following a Mediterranean diet; controlling glucose, electrolytes and hormones; and implementing an exercise program, we can keep patients stable. This will be the first study of its kind in lymphoma.”
The Jernigans say they are honored to support research that could have a tremendous impact on treatment options. “We are excited to help in any way we can,” said Jernigan.