The Smoke You’ve Been Missing

“When I realized how bad e-cigarette use was in the high schools, I thought, ‘If I don’t do this, who will?’ ” said Ilona Jaspers, who also directs the toxicology curriculum at UNC and is the mother of a junior and a senior at Chapel Hill High School. “If I don’t go out and talk to people and educate them about it and find a way to communicate with them, who will?” … More The Smoke You’ve Been Missing

To Build a Cure

They’re the most promising cancer assassins to come along in your lifetime, but their mission is far from complete. CAR-T is still largely experimental — a futuristic, staggering, frustrating therapy that sometimes works and sometimes does not. … More To Build a Cure

Custom-Made Therapy Comes With Sticker Shock

(sidebar to “To Build a Cure”) What’s the difference between commercial CAR-T therapy and the cancer treatments that have come before it? The same things, said Lineberger researcher Dr. Gianpietro Dotti, that separate fine dining from a mass-produced meal in a box. Personalization … and price. “You have a restaurant, and every day you make … More Custom-Made Therapy Comes With Sticker Shock

The Guiding Light

Cancer can magnify the darkness and light we all walk around with — the electricity that fuels a good day with our kids, and the bottom floor of our souls where we struggle with all that we are and all that we could be. The forces are always competing. But the crazy, beautiful thing about Sam Anthony is that he finds a way to let the light win. … More The Guiding Light

Mountains, Still

The clinic the team services sits in a municipality that was once a residential area for garment workers. But a perfect storm of policies and actions from both within and outside Haiti in the 1980s and ’90s — including a U.S.-led economic boycott following the overthrow of democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991 — helped transform it into a shantytown of 500,000 instead. It never recovered, and Cite Soleil now is the poorest community in the Western Hemisphere. Its images are unimaginable: Near a dump, children sleep atop mountains of plastic bottles. … More Mountains, Still

Setting a Place at the Table for Grief

Only when Lennon Flowers could not lift her own broken body out of bed did she begin to feel the tidal wave of grief.

She had been going full speed at life for more than four years, becoming skilled at placing its disparate realities into their own tidy boxes: her packed Carolina schedule double majoring in international studies and political science in one; and in the other, her mother’s lengthy battle with lung cancer, with its treatments and questions and that word — terminal. The key to surviving it all was never to slow down, never to mix the boxes. Keep going, just keep going. … More Setting a Place at the Table for Grief