Sept. 8, 2022 When Lynda Carter discusses her late husband, Robert Altman, it is possible to sense immediately that was a romance for the ages.
As Ive often said, in the event that you were a pal of Roberts, you’re among the luckiest people on the planet, says Carter, the singer-songwriter and actor most widely known on her behalf role as Wonder Woman in the 1970s TV series, who married Altman, a lawyer, in 1984.
For Carter, Altman, and their children, Jessica and James, everything changed in 2017, when Altman was identified as having myelofibrosis, a rare bone marrow disorder about one case is reported per 100,000 Americans every year that has been found during routine bloodwork.
Robert was never sick each day in his life, she says within an interview. He skied and swam, and in lots of ways we were in the prime of our lives together. When he was diagnosed, we werent even clear what he previously. The buzzword was he had a rare blood disorder, not cancer.
The household was told to hold back if the disease would worsen, which it did, unfortunately, at the precise time COVID-19 hit.
This problem can progress from myelofibrosis to secondary acute myeloid leukemia (sAML), a rare blood cancer, says Michael Caligiuri, MD, a respected researcher in immunology, lymphoma, and leukemia and president of City of Hope National INFIRMARY, among the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S.
This disease is chronic and slow-changing, however when it progresses more acutely to a kind of leukemia, it could advance rapidly, he says.
At the acute phase, theres very little that you can do for the individual.
This becomes quite definitely a life-and-death situation, he says. You need to hope for the very best, but there must be an expectation of the worst with regards to attempting to prepare the individual and the household for what will come in order to begin to psychologically and legally put the persons life to be able.
Despite every effort, Altman died in February 2021 at age 73.
Now, to honor her husband, Carter is gifting her time and resources to generate the Robert & Lynda Carter Altman Family Foundation Research Fund, dealing with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a respected biomedical research institute, that is section of City of Hope.
The target: To increase critical research that may improve early detection and survival because of this hard-to-treat blood cancer.
Im excited to be always a section of this team also to know that I might play a little part in assisting other families facing this same diagnosis, Carter says. Its thrilling seeing the progress these scientists are making, from genomic research right into a universe of trillions of codes that may actually turn into a drug therapy someday.
With the creation of the building blocks, you will have funding to build up better diagnostics and better treatments.
In most cases, this research will reveal other related disorders, too, says Caligiuri. Cancer is really a disease of the genes, and generally, weren’t inheriting from our mothers or fathers, however the DNA gets switched around in another of the trillion cells inside our body, just how a word is misspelled.
What goes on next is that the cell doesnt die.
Instead, it undergoes a nuclear reaction and grows and grows, he says. In this instance, the first proof an issue was myelofibrosis. That ticking time bomb continued until it exploded into leukemia.
Caligiuri says the purpose of their research is to create a device that may rearrange that DNA or block the DNA changes therefore the disease doesnt progress to leukemia or, if it can, so that we are able to turn it right into a chronic condition, no acute one thats life-threatening.
For Carter, this foundation is one very heartfelt way she can honor her husbands legacy.
When I lost Robert, I was left with so many questions, she says. I needed to comprehend why rare cancers are so hard to take care of and what research or treatment advances were being designed to change that. Robert was never one for self-aggrandizement, but I believe he would such as this. I believe Robert would really be touched by this.