Ochsner Patient Story: Lincoln Cox - Jamming for a Cause

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When Lincoln Cox learned he had colorectal cancer in March 2012, he threw himself into researching his treatment options. Rather than seeking care near his home in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, he ultimately decided his best option was to make the drive to New Orleans for treatment at Ochsner. “I made an appointment with Dr. Margolin, who reviewed my CT scan and ordered an MRI,” Cox says. “Amazingly, the folks at Ochsner had the procedure approved through my insurance and got the MRI done that same day.”

Dr. David Margolin, colorectal surgeon and Director of Colon and Rectal Surgery Research at Ochsner, helped set up Cox’s treatment plan. “The radiation and chemotherapy were done closer to my home, and Dr. Margolin performed the surgery in New Orleans,” Cox says. “Today I am happy to say that I’ve had no signs of recurrence for five years.”

Cox’s experience inspired him to support Dr. Margolin’s research and help future patients suffering from colorectal cancer, both through personal donations and through a fundraising concert he organized called Summer Jam ’17. The concert, which took place on June 9, featured the Mulligans, a popular cover band created by Edwin Watts, professional golfer and founder of Edwin Watts Golf, where Cox spent 22 years as Vice President of Marketing.

“The Mulligans play at fundraising events for local northwest Florida charity organizations,” says Cox, the band’s manager. “This year, we decided to use the funds generated to support Dr. Margolin’s research.”

Even though Fort Walton Beach is a four-hour drive from New Orleans, Florida’s Gulf Coast has quite a few residents who, like Cox, make the trip to New Orleans for their healthcare. “We have a lot of patients in these communities,” says Anna Combes, Director of Development for the Ochsner Cancer Institute. “We get about 4,000 visits a year from patients in the Florida Panhandle.”

While being treated by Dr. Margolin, Cox learned how important patients like him can be in cancer research, simply by giving consent for their tumors to be used as research samples. “Whenever a patient has an operation, I ask if I can take a sample to use in the lab,” Dr. Margolin explains. “We have novel model that we’re using to try and determine why colorectal cancer recurs in some patients.”

Dr. Margolin’s research specifically looks at the cellular changes that happen to tumor-initiating cells as they move through the lymph nodes, which most commonly lead to the cancer spreading to the liver, often having developed resistance to chemotherapy and radiation. “We’ve been able to replicate this recurrence in mice,” Dr. Margolin says. “Our goal now is to look at the genetics involved and find biomarkers we can use to identify the subset of people who are at higher risk for this recurrence.”

Dr. Margolin says his team has already identified 12 potential biomarkers; now they are working to verify whether any of them are effective targets for new therapies. “We have been working on this for five years, and it will likely continue for the rest of my career,” Dr. Margolin says. “Ultimately, we hope this can lead to the development of drugs that will block this transmission.”

Support Cancer Research

To support research at Ochsner Cancer Institute, please visit ochsner.org/OCI, or contact Anna Combes, Director of Development, at acombes@ochsner.org or 504-842-7134.

Summer Jam ’17 raised $10,000, all of which was donated to Dr. Margolin’s research. “This is about supporting Dr. Margolin, because I believe he, his staff and all the Ochsner family saved my life,” Cox says. “I am fortunate that my cancer has not recurred, but it could in the future. Dr. Margolin’s research project could be the answer should that happen, not only for me but for many other colorectal cancer patients worldwide.”

This isn’t the first time patients of Dr. Margolin have contributed to his work, “but never at this level,” he says of Cox’s fundraising. “I can’t express how much I appreciate the effort he made to help me help other people.”

It’s also not the Mulligans’ first Ochsner concert. “A couple of years ago the Mulligans were honored to play at the New Orleans convention center for an Ochsner event giving back to their cancer patients,” Cox says. “We met Ochsner CEO Warner Thomas—he was warm, welcoming and supportive, and everyone I’ve met at Ochsner embodies those same principles.”

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