Doug Clark, an elite athlete, brings his A-game to every competition. But last year, the 46-year-old husband and father from Mendham needed his A-game and the A-team at Overlook to battle the most formidable competitor he’s ever faced…a malignant brain tumor.
“There were no symptoms,” says Doug, a software engineer and a USA Triathlon Certified Coach, who has earned 46 overall wins in 142 triathlons during the past 19 years. “I was planning on running my personal best in the Philadelphia marathon and winning my eighth consecutive national triathlon championship – a first for anyone in any age group. Instead, I had a grand mal seizure and was rushed to the hospital.”
His story, like so many others, underscores the importance of maintaining world-class health care – both cutting edge and compassionate – close to home.
Doug was in the right place at the right time when he was diagnosed with a large, stage 3 malignant brain tumor. He had on his side the expertise and resources of Atlantic Neuroscience Institute – the region’s foremost provider of neuroscience services based at Overlook.
Dr. Yaron A. Moshel, co-director of the Brain Tumor Center of New Jersey (part of Atlantic Neuroscience Institute and the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook), specializes in removing complex and often deep-seated brain tumors located near critical brain regions that are often considered inoperable. Using computer and live ultrasound-guided navigation and functional brain mapping to determine the boundaries of the tumor and origins of the seizure, Dr. Moshel successfully removed Doug’s tumor in a two-stage surgical procedure.
When, six months later, a follow-up MRI revealed a recurrence of the tumor in a more aggressive form, other members of Overlook’s award-winning neuroscience and cancer center team stepped in with a collaborative approach to Doug’s care. Dr. Moshel and Dr. Louis Schwartz, medical director of radiation oncology at Overlook administered multiple, highly targeted doses of radiation to the tumor through a series of CyberKnife® radiosurgery procedures.
Now, Doug’s race back to health and success as an athlete continues. He is currently receiving an experimental chemotherapy drug, and he and his wife of 12 years remain optimistic and confident in the abilities of the Overlook team.
“There is excellent collaboration here among all of the physicians in the multiple specialties we’ve utilized,” commented Hillary, who met Doug through a local running club and shares his passion for elite athletic competition. “No matter what situation or setback occurs, they always have a plan.
“It’s not just the clinical care that sets Overlook apart. There is a compassionate, human spirit that exists throughout the medical center, from the doctors and nurses to the technicians, social worker and schedulers. When there were snow storms during appointments, we were offered transportation. When we had questions about billing and insurance, we got answers. When we needed a break from it all, we visited The Thomas Glasser Caregivers Center.
“No family could ever be prepared for this kind of ordeal, but Overlook has given me, Doug and our eight-year-old daughter the resources and support we need when we need it most. You don’t find that level of care anywhere else.”
Whether you are a world-class or weekend athlete (or a couch potato!), the world-class health care you deserve is right here in your community.
Support from the community is incredibly important and your gifts enable Overlook, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) regional medical center, to:
- acquire new technologies for detecting and treating brain tumors, stroke, cancer, heart disease and many other illnesses;
- attract and retain the nation’s best and brightest healthcare professionals, who are as talented as they are compassionate in delivering state-of-the-art care;
- participate in groundbreaking clinical research, which allows patients access to newly developed drugs and treatment protocols; and
- provide integrative healing therapies – like massage, yoga, tai chi and meditation – and support services such as The Thomas Glasser Caregivers Center to treat the whole patient and the whole family in a friendly, comfortable caring environment.
Your ongoing support continues to make a difference. Just ask families like the Clarks – and many others like them – who are grateful for the talent, technology, services and support they have received at Overlook.
Your generosity can change lives, including your own. Click here to make a donation now.