Chuck Stravin is married to his high school sweetheart, Liz, and lives in Quincy, Massachusetts, just south of Boston. Diagnosed with advanced renal cancer in 2015, Chuck is beating the odds and has become a passionate advocate for kidney cancer research funding.
Boston Fan and #GIRLDAD
I am a 55-year-old father to four amazing daughters. We live just south of Boston, and I am an avid Boston sports fan, especially Boston College. I bleed maroon and gold!
I was diagnosed in 2015 with advanced renal cancer, and I want the next father of four who is diagnosed with RCC to have more options than I did back then.
Reflecting on Time & Hope
As someone who is living with stage IV renal cell cancer, I can say that clinical trials and research are very critical.
You see, I have exhausted ALL standard of care therapies. My only hope in keeping my aggressive form of RCC under control comes from new discoveries that drive new treatment options. These new treatment options provide patients like me with added time.
This time means a lot to us. It’s time other patients haven’t had to continue to watch their children grow up. Time to celebrate more anniversaries with their spouses. Time to add to their personal bucket list. Or in the case of this #GIRLDAD, time to walk another daughter down the aisle.
I want clinicians and researchers to know this: A cancer diagnosis changes your life. Your life is never the same, but with time comes hope that we will someday find a cure. And hope that, for patients like me, the next clinical trial is the one that keeps the cancer under control with fewer side effects and a better quality of life.
Sometimes, time and hope are all we have.
“We Need to Do More to Understand This Horrible Disease”
It scares me to think that when my fight started, there were ZERO federal dollars going to kidney cancer. There are 200+ types of cancer out there, but kidney cancer is a particularly complicated cancer.
Despite being a top-ten cancer (#6 in men, #9 in women), and being one of the most rapidly-increasing cancers in adults between 25 and 50 years of age, it is still one of the least understood cancers out there. That has to change, and the only way we do that is through research.
Kidney cancer kills 40 people like me per day in the United States. Worldwide, there are close to 450,000 new cases each year. We need to do more to understand this horrible disease.
Chuck says, “My incredible wife and four amazing daughters keep me going. They have been right there by my side the last 7+ years and have shown me that I have a lot to live for.” Chuck is shown here with his wife, Liz, and his daughters Kayla, MaryBeth, Colleen and Meghan, along with their golden doodle Quinn.
Advice for New Patients with Kidney Cancer
Find a cancer center that specializes in kidney cancer. Like I said above, kidney cancer is complicated. You want to be working with a team that not only provides incredible patient care, but one that also understands this crazy disease and has access to cutting-edge research and life-saving clinical trials.
Staying “Stravin Strong”
The night that I was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, I came up with a list of things that cancer was NOT going to get in the way of. This list remains my “North Star” or “compass” in this fight.
Trust me, there are plenty of good days and there are quite a few bad days, but I have a lot to live for. Liz, Kayla, MaryBeth, Colleen, and Meghan remind me of that every day. That’s why we call it “Stravin Strong.”
Cancer started this fight, but we’re going to finish it.