Mother of 6 and a Beacon of Hope for Others

The following section features a selection of patient stories submitted to the 2015 Hero of Hope Patient Award. These stories illustrate the range of extraordinary patient profiles submitted by patients, family members, friends, and healthcare providers.
December 2015 Vol 1 No 6
Melinda Bachini
Director of Advocacy
Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation
Salt Lake City, UT

Melinda Bachini is an extraordinary person living with a rare cancer called cholangiocarcinoma (or bile duct cancer). Diagnosed in October 2009 after severe upper gastrointestinal symptoms, this wife and mother of 6 underwent a partial liver resection (surgery) and the standard chemotherapy for this cancer—Gemzar (gemcitabine) and Platinol (cisplatin).

Eventually, Platinol was stopped because of toxicity and Gemzar was continued alone, but the tumor grew again. She began treatment with Avastin (bevacizumab), but the side effects again were too severe after a few months. Because she had no good treatment options, Melinda searched for new strategies, including clinical trials. She found a clinical trial for her type of cancer, and, in March 2012, enrolled in the trial through the National Cancer Institute. Her tumor responded extremely well, and the tumor continued to shrink even after completing treatment.

I was first introduced to Melinda in a webinar she was involved in about adoptive cell therapy using tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. This was the treatment she received at the trial, and to which her tumor responded so well. I was touched by her positive attitude in the webinar despite all that she had been through. The theme that resonated with me was her hope that other patients with cholangiocarcinoma would have successful treatment options. In February 2015, I met Melinda at the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation Annual Conference, where she was a guest speaker. She spoke with such poise and grace to a room full of physicians, researchers, patient advocates, and volunteers, that there were few dry eyes left in the room. She discussed the side effects of chemotherapy, from which she still suffers, the scars from surgery, and the importance of seeing patients as people. She also spoke about the lack of treatment options for cholangiocarcinoma, and why this needs to change.

Melinda and I spent a short time together, where I saw what a sweet, genuine, and down-to-earth person she is. I discovered that in addition to being a wife and mother of 6, she was a paramedic. She talked about her hopes of getting back to work, because of how much she loved helping others.

I have since learned that Melinda has become a patient advocate for the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, and was awarded a scholarship for patient advocacy training in the 2015 Focus on Research Scholar program. She has also been featured in articles about adoptive cell therapy in the New York Times, Time, and other venues.

In addition to her full life at home in Montana and her advocacy involvement, she still finds time to serve as a moderator on the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation patient discussion board almost daily, and speaks with other patients and their families, offering caring words, understanding, and personal experience.

Share this:

Recommended For You
CholangiocarcinomaFDA Approvals, News & Updates
Truseltiq Second Targeted Therapy Approved by the FDA for Patients with Advanced or Metastatic Cholangiocarcinoma and the FGFR2 Biomarker
In late May 2021, the FDA approved Truseltiq (infigratinib), a new targeted therapy, for adults with previously treated, unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic cholangiocarcinoma and FGFR2 fusion or other rearrangement, as detected by an FDA-approved test.
CholangiocarcinomaFDA Approvals, News & Updates
New Treatment Option for Certain Type of Advanced Bile Duct Cancer
Patients with advanced bile duct cancer, or cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), have few treatment options and a generally poor prognosis. But now, a new medication called Pemazyre (pemigatinib) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of CCA that has spread to other parts of the body or that cannot be removed by surgery, providing a new treatment option for these patients, and perhaps a better outlook for their future.
The Lynx Group Designated “Trusted Partner” of Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation
February 1, 2021 (Cranbury, NJ): The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation (CCF) designated The Lynx Group (TLG) as a “Trusted Partner,” 1 of only 4 organizations globally. A CCF “Trusted Partner” shares the CCF mission: to find a cure and improve the quality of life for those affected by cholangiocarcinoma (CCA). These 4 esteemed partners are fundamental to the Foundation’s growth and ability to provide high-quality programs and services to the CCA community.
Last modified: October 5, 2017

Subscribe to CONQUER: the patient voice magazine

Receive timely cancer news & updates, patient stories, and more.

Race or Ethnicity
Profession or Role
Primary Interest