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Jul 3, 2024

In this episode, Dr. JYP talks with Ashley McCrary, a mother of four and survivor of ocular melanoma. Diagnosed in 2012, Ashley recalls that two of her college friends from Auburn University had also suffered from this rare eye cancer. She tells the story of having her right eye removed and how she later learned that the cancer had spread to her liver. Despite her devastating diagnosis, Ashley shares how she stays positive and finds purpose through her faith and intentional interactions with fellow eye cancer survivors and others. She talks about her foundation, Eye On Grace, which helps fund travel for cancer patients needing treatment. Ashley has participated in a clinical trial in Philadelphia for three years, significantly reducing the number and size of her tumors. She also introduces the Eye Patch Challenge to raise awareness and funds for research. Ashley's heartwarming relationships with her doctors, nurses and an Uber driver highlight the importance of community support. Dr. JYP highlights Ashley's resilience and dedication to making the most of every day, proving that even in the face of a tough diagnosis, maintaining a positive outlook and helping others can make a big difference.

Enjoy this inspirational show!

3 Key Takeaways

- The power of sweet friendships: Ashley values meeting new people and making connections on the cancer journey. Her acquaintances, such as Uber drivers, nurses and restaurant regulars, became fast friends and supporters over time. We all benefit by being intentional in our interactions and by taking the opportunity to positively impact the lives of others.

- Investigating ocular melanoma cases: The unique grouping of ocular melanoma cases in Auburn, Alabama, and elsewhere garnered national attention, which has led to ongoing research to identify potential environmental factors and advance global research collaborations.

- Supporting the fight against cancer: Focusing on the needs of others can be very beneficial for cancer survivors. Ashley raises funds to support fellow cancer patients through her Eye On Grace Foundation. Hear about her plans for the Eye Patch Challenge and her drive to aid others in their cancer battles.


Show Overview


02:15 Ashley's delayed response to a black spot on her eye

09:26 Unusual case attracts national attention, prompts research

10:26 49 Ocular melanoma cases linked to Auburn, Alabama

14:19 Diagnosed with metastatic disease

20:01 Participating in clinical trial and finding a silver lining

22:49 Getting access to crucial medical treatment

26:03 Eye Patch Challenge for cancer awareness

28:33 Support and friendships on the way to the airport

33:27 Inspiration and Eye on Grace project



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USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute
The Cancering Show is brought to you by USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute. MCI is a cutting-edge cancer research and treatment center built to fight cancer smarter in Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama. Our researchers and clinicians focus daily on the struggle against cancer, serving a potential catchment population of more than 4.1 million people, with a singular focus of advancing cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention throughout the Gulf Coast and beyond with science, technology and hope.

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