A terminally ill woman in Tampa, Florida, may live longer thanks to YouTube. Darlene Gant has stage 4 breast cancer, and she is dying. The 46-year-old mother wants to do anything she can that may give her more time with her family. So she made a desperate plea to drug company Genentech to give her pertuzumab, a promising new cancer drug. The problem is, pertuzumab is not scheduled to be released by the FDA until June 8.
Gant's doctors, friends, and relatives sent letters on her behalf begging Genentech to release the drug early for "compassionate use." As part of Gant's wish she says in the video, "please, do what you can and stand up and insist on research for stage 4 metastatic cancers." Gant's personal heartbreaking video has triggered an enormous outpouring of support and encouragement. One person commented, "You go girl! How's that for not taking no for an answer." So far, Gant's video plea has been viewed nearly 20,000 times, and it seems to have hit a nerve with the drug company.
Genentech has agreed to release the drug early on a "compassionate care basis" to Gant. In addition, her hospital has approved the treatment and she is scheduled to start taking pertuzumab today.
In another story of triumph, a quadruple amputee is trying to prove that his disability is nothing compared to his determination by doing something no one has ever done before. Philippe Croizon, a French endurance athlete, has made it his goal to swim between five continents. Croizon said he wants to "connect the world" by symbolically linking the continents and build a bridge between people. Croizon said he seeks to make the world know that we're not "very far from each other." He believes it's also important to get people to realize that, "even if we have different political opinions, or skin colors, or even with our disabilities, we all live on the same planet."
In 1994, Croizon was changing a TV antenna on his roof and was electrocuted. As a result, his limbs had to be amputated. Croizon has been fitted with artificial leg extenders and flippers to help facilitate his movement through the water. The total distance between the continents is nearly 53 miles.
Croizon will not be making the journey alone. His friend Arnaud Chassery will join him as they swim between Indonesia (Asia) and Papua New Guinea in May. The pair will then swim across the Red Sea between Jordan (Asia) and Egypt (Africa) and the Strait of Gibraltar between Africa and Europe, then finish by crossing the Bering Strait between North America and Asia in August.
The 44-year-old endurance athlete was previously known for swimming across the English Channel. People on social media are in awe of Croizon calling him "courageous" and "determined."