When We Work Together, Cancer Doesn’t Stand a Chance

Learn how McKesson is enabling lasting change in our communities.

Read time: 5 minutes

Every three minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with blood cancer. On May 27, 2021, one of those people was an energetic and ambitious high school senior named Amanda Paul.

Amanda Paul in the hospital

Amanda Paul in the hospital

For several months before she received the diagnosis, Amanda searched for answers to the puzzling symptoms she was experiencing. Extremely itchy skin. Chest pain. A fever that wouldn’t go away. A swollen lymph node near her hip.

After visiting multiple doctors, Amanda was referred to an oncology surgeon who removed and tested the lymph node. The biopsy confirmed what Amanda suspected: she had cancer. She was diagnosed with classical Hodgkin lymphoma, which is a type of blood cancer that affects part of the body’s immune system. A scan showed that the cancer had progressed to stage 4, the most advanced stage.

“I was relieved to have an answer so I could get treatment,” Amanda says of receiving the news. She immediately began a six-month chemotherapy treatment regimen near her hometown in Dallas at Texas Oncology–Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. The practice is part of The US Oncology Network, which is supported by McKesson and is the nation's largest network of physicians dedicated to advancing high-quality cancer care.

Just two weeks into treatment, Amanda began losing strands of her waist-length hair. But even with the fatigue, nausea and other chemotherapy side effects, Amanda was determined to stay active and maintain a positive attitude. She learned a lot about the experience of other patients living with cancer, too, and started using her voice to help her new community. She was surprised to learn about the hardships that some patients face, from lack of education about their treatment options, logistical challenges with transportation to treatment centers, and financial hardship from high medical expenses.

“I was fortunate because I just had to worry about getting better,” Amanda says. “That’s all a cancer patient should have to worry about.”

Using Her Experience for Good

Driven by a desire to help, Amanda became involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), a nonprofit organization that has played a critical role in funding blood cancer research and providing support services for people with cancer since 1949. The mission of LLS is to improve the quality of life for 1.5 million people in the U.S. who are living with or are in remission from blood cancer, with the ultimate goal of curing all types of cancer for good.

It’s a mission that also resonates across McKesson, which is driven by a commitment to improving health outcomes for people everywhere. Cancer is the second most common cause of death for people in the U.S., and as a leader in healthcare, McKesson is working to reduce the burden of cancer for patients and their families. Through the company’s Cancer Doesn’t Stand a Chance platform, McKesson is advancing several philanthropic partnerships and volunteer initiatives aimed at making a difference in cancer treatment and prevention efforts.

One way that McKesson fuels this important work is by supporting nonprofit organizations like LLS that ensure patients living with cancer have the resources, services and access to treatment they need. McKesson also encourages others to join in this cause by rallying its employees to participate in events such as Light the Night, a one-mile walk organized by LLS that gathers local communities together to celebrate, honor and remember those whose lives have been touched by blood cancers. By providing employees with opportunities to volunteer their time and talent in support of these events, McKesson is able to extend its reach and improve the lives of more patients.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's 2022 Light the Night walk in Dallas

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's 2022 Light the Night walk in Dallas

“McKesson is committed to enabling lasting change in the communities where we live, work and serve,” says Niki Shah, vice president of social innovation at McKesson. “Many of our employees have been personally affected by cancer or know someone who has. It’s inspiring to see employees across McKesson coming together to participate in Light the Night and other events that help to make a positive impact on the people affected by this devastating disease.”

Similarly, Amanda was inspired by Light the Night and galvanized her family, friends and followers on social media to support the cause by telling her story.

“I refused to let cancer stop me from doing anything I wanted to do,” she says. She attended school in person as often as she could, held a part-time job as a lifeguard and rehearsed for dance competitions. She even entered the local Miss Dallas beauty pageant where she captivated the audience and inspired her fellow contestants to award her the title of Miss Congeniality.

“I wanted to show women that hair doesn’t define you or make you beautiful,” Amanda recalls of her pageant experience. By sharing her story through events like these, and through open and honest videos she posted on social media for a growing base of followers, she helped educate people without cancer and made a difference for others who were facing similar struggles.

In fact, Amanda inspired so many to action through her story that she became the second highest individual fundraiser in 2021. LLS recognized Amanda’s contributions at the 2022 Light the Night event in her hometown and named her a Dallas Honored Hero.

Amanda has successfully completed her treatment. She graduated high school with her class and began her freshman year at college. Even though she is in remission, her journey with cancer doesn’t end here. Amanda continues to contribute her time and energy to raise awareness for LLS and speak out on behalf of patients living with cancer.

“This community will always be a part of me,” says Amanda. “There are so many people who still need help and support.”