In March 2021, Sharla Sieve, a mother and teacher from Lynnfield, Mass., was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of colorectal cancer. The best treatment for this type of cancer happened to involve a type of infusion pump that delivers chemotherapy directly into a patient’s liver.
Unfortunately for Sharla, the closest program specializing in this treatment was in New York City — forcing her to travel almost 500 miles round-trip, twice each month, to receive the care she needed. Frustrated with her mother’s situation, Sharla’s 15-year-old daughter Olivia set out to make sure that other patients needing the same treatment wouldn’t have to endure the added struggle of long-distance travel.
Olivia launched the Sharla Sieve Liver Pump Fund, raising money to help establish the Hepatic Artery Infusion Pump Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, where her mother was a patient. In November 2022, Olivia and her mother presented Sharla’s physician Motaz Qadan, MD, PhD, with a check for $75,000 to establish the new program. Dr. Qadan, a hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgical oncologist, and the Gapontsev Family Endowed Chair in Surgical Oncology, will serve as the program’s lead physician.
Sharla passed away in December 2022, but Olivia continues to fundraise. “I couldn’t save my mom, but I can help countless others,” Olivia told People magazine, which featured her story in the March 13, 2023 print edition. To date, Olivia has raised nearly $123,000.