The Power of Social: Dying Mom Uses YouTube to Get Trial Drug

Today’s post was supposed to be about social media statistics. But my focus shifted after reading about this mom: Darlene Gant, a mother in the final stages of breast cancer, has been granted compassionate use of a soon-to-be-released drug from Genentech, according to an ABCNews report. And she obtained it by using one of the most powerful tools anyone can use to communicate: social media.

Gant had unsuccessfully appealed to the company several times before posting a video plea on YouTube. The video was accompanied by a request for viewers to appeal to Genentech for her compassionate use of the drug, which the FDA is expected to approve on June 8th. Not expecting to live to that date, Gant argued that the drug pertuzumab could extend her time with her family, including an 11-year-old son. In the 20-minute video, she shares her personal cancer journey, including plans to keep her memory alive by writing cards for her son to open on future birthdays.

Genentech approved Gant’s use of the drug several days after the YouTube video was posted. She is expected to start taking the drug within 1-2 weeks.

For just a moment let’s step away from the social media marketing and monitoring and strategy and everything else that’s business related. Social media users, whether they’re protesting under a dictator’s rule or pleading for compassionate trial drug use, are facilitating change. Sometimes it brings down governments; and sometimes it lets a mom live long enough to see her son’s 12th birthday.

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