Rachel was the youngest yet mightiest of the three "Guss Girls". After completing Graduate School at Elizabethtown College with a degree in Occupational Therapy, Rachel was diagnosed with duodenal cancer. Rather than beginning her field work, she started the 1st of 14 chemotherapy treatments. Her course in life was down a much different road than her classmates, friends and family. She kept pace with a smile and a positive attitude. Many surgeons around the country reviewed Rachel’s case and reported that surgery would be suicide. The road was long and unsure until we met the gifted surgeons from the National Institutes of Health: Dr. Rudloff and Dr. Avital. They were our surgeons of hope. They studied, planned and were willing to surgically remove the tumor wrapped around Rachel’s aorta. Rachel was the first person in this country to undergo such a procedure. She had nine major surgeries and had to climb mountains everyday, including a rupture of her aorta.
With courage, strength, hope and faith Rachel did not back down to the challenges faced with battling this disease.
NIH provided Rachel with love and respect through a community of surgeons, nurses, wound care, pain and maintenace staff. We are so grateful for their love.