How Bailey O’Brien Beat The Odds and Conquered Stage 4 Melanoma at CHIPSA Hospital!
In 2010 Doctors diagnosed college athlete, Bailey O’Brien with terminal cancer, but her parents refused to accept this death sentence.
Bailey O’Brien entered her senior year of college ready to tackle all that came her way. She didn’t know she’d be tackling a death sentence. After being diagnosed with melanoma cancer three years earlier, the 20-year-old springboard diver at Boston University was told that her cancer had come back. This time, it had spread. With seven total tumors, many inoperable, her oncologist at NYU Hospital told her that she’d likely only have seven months to live.
But Bailey is a champion. The former varsity gymnast earned a partial swimming scholarship to BU. Only a year before her cancer recurrence, she made the podium in both 1- and 3-meter springboards at the 2010 America East Championship. Not one to throw in the towel, Bailey fought her cancer with every resource available to her, whether FDA-approved or not. Even when her own doctors cautioned her not to use certain treatments, Bailey had the courage to go with her gut.
Bailey describes her battle with cancer as a “journey,” and it all started when she was 17. During her freshman year at BU, she found an odd spot on her temple. “It was a dark freckle that had a pinkish bump under it,” she said. “I thought it was a pimple, but it wouldn’t go away.” After a biopsy revealed that the spot was suspicious for melanoma, Bailey had 45 lymph nodes removed from her neck, along with a portion of her salivary glands and a swatch of skin around her temple. She received Interferon injections for a month, and went back to school with assurance from her doctors that she probably wouldn’t see the cancer again.
During a routine follow-up scan three years later, Bailey’s doctors told her that the cancer had returned in her jaw. They also found a mass behind her ear. Two surgeries later, Bailey was missing a wide margin of skin and tissue, some bone from her skull, and the bottom half of her right ear. “It wrecked me,” she said.
Bailey underwent a month of difficult radiation treatment before traveling to support her diving team in a Hawaii training. Upon returning back to BU, just two months after her surgery, Bailey felt a bump on the bottom of her chin. A followup CT scan revealed that her cancer had spread. She now had seven tumors in her spine, neck, and lung.When her mom and sister went to her dorm room to tell her the bad news, Bailey was devastated.
“I didn’t expect it all all,” she said. “I broke down. I felt like I was trapped, thinking about if I might be able to survive. Everything ended with me dead.”
Her doctors had given her a diagnosis nearly impossible to overcome. But Bailey and her parents, Rebecca and James, refused to accept this death sentence.
Bailey returned home to start on a chemotherapy drug called Temodar. Meanwhile, her parents, with the help of a family friend, began to research integrative methods of curing her cancer. After discovering promising research on Coley’s Vaccine, also known as Coley’s Toxins, Bailey and her family began to have some hope. Coley’s Toxins contains bacteria and toxins that cause infection in the body that sparks a fever. The infection stimulates the immune system, which responds by also destroying malicious tumors.
Unfortunately, getting access to Coley’s Vaccine in the U.S. was gong to be near impossible. The American Cancer Society placed Coley’s Toxin in the “unproven method” box and hasn’t touched it since. There was seemingly no way for Bailey to get the treatment she needed.
No one knew if it was possible for Bailey to recover or even survive after this…
But then they discovered CHIPSA Hospital.
A cancer research hospital in Tijuana, Mexico, CHIPSA specializes in integrative methods of curing cancer, including Coley’s Toxins, Gerson Therapy, and other advanced treatments. They have an amazing 60 percent success rate with end-stage melanoma patients. CHIPSA provided a glimmer of hope that Bailey and her family so desperately needed.
Taking what she describes as “the biggest leap of faith” of her life, Bailey and her mother flew to Tijuana to begin her treatments. She spent three long weeks at CHIPSA and followed their protocol. She began the Gerson Therapy, a low-sodium organic diet that regenerates the body’s healing process by supporting the immune system and ridding the body of nutrient deficiencies. She drank at least 8 oz of fruit and vegetables juices every hour, totaling an average of 15 juices a day. She was given Vitamin C drips and intravenous Vitamin B-17. She did three coffee enemas per day and took regular doses of Coley’s Vaccine. She also took Autologous Dendritic Cell Vaccine, that was created directly from her own white blood cells. It contained antigens that boosted her immune system into a regenerative state.
Although CHIPSA’s protocol was hard work, Bailey was no stranger to intense training: “In sports, you’re always working towards something. I was working towards getting better. I had an amazing support group — family and teammates who were always there for me.”
When it was time for Bailey to leave Mexico and return home, the lump beneath her chin had disappeared.
She continued following CHIPSA’s protocol at home for three weeks until her next scan. While waiting for the results at Sloan Kettering, Bailey and her mother were on the edge of their seats. After what felt like an eternity, the doctor came in and delivered news that Bailey and her family never thought they’d hear.
“He told me I no longer needed his services,” Bailey said. “According to the scans, it looked like all the tumors were gone.”
The next day, Bailey celebrated her 21st birthday. She took a sip of sangria at an organic restaurant in Manhattan, and toasted her second chance at life.
Bailey has now been cancer-free for almost five years. The former athlete is an active member of her church and regular volunteer in her local elementary schools. Her journey has inspired her to pursue a career as a certified health coach. She no longer has to see her oncologist or get scans, but she still takes Coley’s Vaccines about once a month at home. She has passed the three-year threshold for recurrence. After five years, CHIPSA will consider her completely cured of cancer. Her 8 year anniversary will be this March.
Bailey lives with her parents in Putnam Valley, New York and spends most of her time in Peekskill. In her free time, she attends church, goes to kickboxing classes, and hangs out at The Peekskill Coffee House. She still follows a very strict diet, avoiding non-organic foods and limiting her salt and sugar intake. She doesn’t eat or drink anything from plastic bottles or containers. She is committed to eliminating the toxic substances that probably created her cancer in the first place.
“For me,” she says, “living dangerously is ordering something off a menu without asking what’s in it.”
Bailey is not taking her second chance at life for granted. At times, she feels guilty for having survived when so many do not. Her mother’s friend passed away from lung cancer while Bailey was in Mexico getting treatment. After questioning why she got a second chance, she began to pursue a spiritual life. Determined to figure out her purpose, she became active in prayer. “I wanted to know if God was real,” she said. “I’d prayed for a miracle. Some people call it a miracle; some people call it science. I think God gave me the resources to be healed.”
Bailey is currently writing a memoir about her journey and plans to start a new career as a certified health coach in the spring. She’s an active member of Peekskill’s First Baptist Church and volunteers regularly for The Good News Club, one of the church’s after-school programs. She spends as much quality time with her family as she can, including babysitting regularly for her two nephews. “They were a huge inspiration for my comeback,” she says. “They bring me so much joy. I didn’t have a lot of joy in my life before I had cancer. Life was not really exciting to me. I looked at people who were happy, and I thought they were weird. What’s there to be happy about? But now, I’m happy most days. My message as a speaker is about being grateful for life. Instead of thinking of life as a burden, be grateful for the day, because so many people don’t get that chance.”
7 Years Cancer Free
Bailey O’Brien is Cancer-free seven years after her she was told she would be dead in 7 months. The former high school athlete is active in her church, volunteers her time at local elementary schools, and is planning to embark on a career as a certified health coach. Thanks to her faith in God and the courage that she showed coming to CHIPSA she is considered cured by oncologists. (Many oncologists say that anyone surviving 5 years without disease is cured) Thank you Bailey for being a role model to so many!!See Bailey’s Treatment Plan Here
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