There’s no greater gift than the gift of life, and a mother battling an advanced cancer couldn’t agree more. Meet an Ohio mom of four who is relishing every moment this holiday season after an acquaintance from church gave her an unexpected gift that saved her life.
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CLEVELAND – There’s no greater gift than the gift of life.
And a mother of four, battling an advanced cancer, couldn’t agree more.
Carole Motycka, 44, is relishing every moment this holiday season after an acquaintance from church gave her an unexpected gift that saved her life.
“We’ve been all over the place, traveling and living life and taking in every moment that we can,” said Motycka who loves the outdoors.
Two years ago, while hiking with her husband and four sons, shoulder pain sent Motycka to the hospital. After doctors ran testing, she learned that she was facing an uphill battle.
“He (the doctor) said, “I believe you have a large tumor in your colon; I believe that your cancer from your colon has went into your liver,” and he said this is probably a worst case scenario,” said Motycka.
Motycka wasted little time calling Cleveland Clinic, where soon her cancer was treated with chemotherapy. She also had parts of her colon and liver removed.
Motycka was doing well until November 2017 when her liver began to fail.
“Unfortunately some of the side effects of these therapies can cause liver damage, and that’s what happened in her case,” said Federico Aucejo, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, who treated Motycka.
Luckily, Motycka was a candidate for a new treatment protocol where transplantation is used for advanced colon cancer that has spread to the liver.
“At this point in time, I don’t think we can call transplantation a cure, but we can prolong the survival,” said Dr. Aucejo.
Motycka needed a liver donor, so her pastor put a note in the church bulletin.
Fellow church-goer, 41-year-old Jason Stechschulte, a father of two, barely knew Motycka, but felt compelled to help.
“It was like the very second my eyes saw that and started reading it, I just had this feeling come over me that this is going to be you; you need to do this, said Stechschulte.
As fate would have it, Stechschulte was a perfect match.
“I can’t ever say thank you enough, because what he doesn’t understand, but maybe he does, but for this girl, it’s given me the chance to see my John, he’s graduated now, and my Joseph, he’s going to graduate, and my Nick is at Dartmouth and I didn’t know that I would get to see Drew graduate from high school, but I get that opportunity now because of what Jason has given to me, said Motycka.
Motycka is doing well and there are currently no signs of cancer recurrence.
She considers her diagnosis a gift, of sorts, to her four sons, as testing revealed a gene that can put them at high risk for colon cancer too.
Now, Motycka’s sons can start screening while they’re young and never experience what their mom went through.