Frank Sierawski: A New Meaning for Father’s Day

Nick Baker, Web Experience and Content Manager
Frank with his family and a quote about what father's day means to him

Read time: 3 minutes 

It’s been nearly a decade since Frank Sierawski was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in his 30s. The Sierawski family—including Frank, his wife Kathryn, and their three kids—all experienced his diagnosis, treatment, and remission in different ways. 

“My kids have the luxury of not really remembering much of my treatments, surgery, brain radiation, etc. But my wife does. She remembers it like it was yesterday, and that's really given her some PTSD. You can imagine working through all the emotions of a spouse getting a terminal diagnosis, thinking our time was limited, trying to plan all the ‘what ifs,’ and then miraculously being in a place where things might be ok like we are today,” says Frank. 

Man (Frank) smiling with his wife and three sons with water in the background
Frank (right) with his family

Frank is officially disease-free and has been for seven years. While he and Kathryn knew this outcome was unlikely, a single word from his doctor kept them positive. 

My doctor always said we were going for a cure. Just the fact that he wasn’t afraid to use the word ‘cure’ with a patient with stage IV lung cancer gave us so much hope, and that has shaped how we’ve approached treatment ever since.” 

The goal of a cure became more attainable after finding an ALK-positive mutation in Frank’s cancer and being able to choose from multiple targeted therapy treatment options. The first targeted therapy ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) Frank used helped reduce the size of his tumor, leading to a successful lobectomy (surgery) to remove it. Now, he’s on his second TKI treatment that’s kept him disease-free for 7+ years. 

These two major moments—going from healthy to stage IV cancer, and then back to disease-free—pushed Frank to “start living right away.” He’s been intentional about creating memories now, while at the same time appreciating the life milestones he didn’t expect to see. 

“Father’s Day used to be about getting spoiled for a day, maybe golfing with other dads, a nice dinner, etc. But what Father's Day means to me now is more about celebrating the time I have with my kids. My three kiddos were 6, 4, and 2 years old when I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, so the odds were not in my favor when it came to seeing them grow taller than me, graduate high school, and become amazing goalkeepers for their respective soccer teams.” 

More of Frank’s treatment history, mindset, and why he stays active with the lung cancer community can be found in Conquer Magazine and the ASCO Post. 

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