Ann’s Story: Overcoming the Odds


At 50 years old, Ann Apel was raising her two sons with her husband. She loved being on the water and gardening, and she served as President of the Civic Association and the Parks Board. Then one day, while out jogging, she experienced shortness of breath and coughed up a blood clot. It was then that she was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma in her lung. She had no family history of the disease.

When she learned of this harrowing diagnosis, Ann’s heart sunk. But she knew that she would fight this disease tooth and nail. She underwent constant monitoring and treatment for two years.

Her treatment team worked off a flowchart of procedures from the oncologist’s office. She had a complete pneumonectomy of the affected lung. Due to the rigors of her disease and treatment, Ann experienced a lack of appetite to the point of endangering her life, plus major fatigue, and stomach and lower intestinal cramps. She was physically and emotionally exhausted. But throughout her journey, Ann found hope in her family’s support — the strength of her husband, parents, family, and friends. 

“I had so much support; it really humbles a person with all the support,” she said.

After a formidable journey and overcoming incredible odds, Ann is now over five years cancer free. She is very grateful to Dr. Burt, her oncologist, and his team for helping her overcome cancer.

“Dr. Burt and the staff were caring, supportive, and sensitive to my needs,” she said. “They sufficiently explained all the risk factors and choices.” 

Ann has a renewed outlook on life and appreciates each moment. She recently welcomed her first grandchild and is thankful to be around and healthy to watch her grow up.

“Life certainly has given me a challenge that I overcame, and I will continue to live life to the fullest.”

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