Grateful for Lahey’s Care, Cancer Survivor Joins 5K

Attorney Becomes Leading Fundraiser

Betsy Soule blamed bad food for the excruciating pain that sent her to an Emergency Department during a professional conference in Washington, D.C., six years ago. But a CT scan detected a lesion on her liver, and before long she was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a dangerous cancer of the bile duct.

“Very stupidly, I did what everybody shouldn’t do, and I googled it,” said Betsy, a legal-aid attorney and executive director of the nonprofit Metrowest Legal Services in Framingham. “It said things like, ‘rare and incurable.’ I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’”

Referred to Lahey

But Betsy’s doctor at a Cambridge hospital referred her to Roger Jenkins, MD, an internationally renowned liver, biliary and pancreas surgeon at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. “What I remember about that first meeting is that at first he didn’t even want to talk about the cancer,” she recalled. “He wanted to get to know me. Then he had the iPad out and the scans up and he was explaining the whole thing. It turns out my cancer is not rare, and it’s not incurable.”

Several weeks later, Dr. Jenkins removed 60 percent of Betsy’s liver. After she recovered from the surgery, she embarked on a course of chemotherapy with Francis Nugent III, MD, of Lahey’s Sophia Gordon Cancer Center.

All remained well until 2015, when follow-up scans detected a spot on one of Betsy’s kidneys. It turned out to be cancerous, and Andrea Sorcini, MD, performed surgery to remove it.

Raising funds for other patients

Grateful for the care she received at Lahey, Betsy is preparing to walk in her third Lahey Health 5K Cancer Walk & Run this June. To date, she is one of the event’s top fundraisers. Featured in a Lahey Health Cancer Institute video, Betsy shared her story via Facebook and the donations began flooding in.

Why participate in the 5K? “I’m not a runner, but it looked like a nice event and I was happy to help raise money for Lahey because they saved my life,” she said. “It was a good way to get out there with folks who have been through similar stuff.”

This year, Betsy will be walking alongside a couple of her friends. “Part of my story is the network of friends that I have. Right from the first cancer, they enveloped and surrounded me and stepped up.”