Profile: Glick’s patient advocacy is from the heart - Having beat a rare form of cancer, Nancy Glick is back at Hill & Knowlton and using what she learned in her battle to benefit clients, staff and fellow cancer patients. Denise Mann report

Nancy Glick, 51, the newly appointed senior counselor for health, nutrition and consumer issues at Hill & Knowlton’s Washington, DC office, is in a sense, the poster child for one of the agency’s latest clients - the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Nancy Glick, 51, the newly appointed senior counselor for health, nutrition and consumer issues at Hill & Knowlton’s Washington, DC office, is in a sense, the poster child for one of the agency’s latest clients - the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Nancy Glick, 51, the newly appointed senior counselor for health,

nutrition and consumer issues at Hill & Knowlton’s Washington, DC

office, is in a sense, the poster child for one of the agency’s latest

clients - the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.



At age 50, Glick, then SVP and practice director of nutrition and

consumer affairs at H&K, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called

splenic marginal zone lymphoma. She is now approaching her new job post

with the same panache and zeal that she attacked the disease - taking

what she learned as a patient and meshing it with her already sharp PR

skills.



A seasoned PR pro, Glick is grateful that Hill & Knowlton was not only

extremely supportive of her battle with cancer, but also of her desire

to take what she learned and apply it to her job. During her

recuperation period, ’I was able to talk and have meetings and lunches

with people at Hill & Knowlton to re-think what I wanted to do,’ she

says. ’I wanted to do a lot of work in patient education and health

advocacy.’



When she was first diagnosed with the cancer, Glick started searching

the Internet for information on her disease. Most of what was out there,

she found, was pretty scary and outdated. What was missing, she says,

were support programs connecting survivors to survivors along with

reliable, understandable and yet realistic treatment information.



That’s exactly the dimension that she plans to add to Hill & Knowlton’s

health and wellness accounts. ’I am delighted to be able to talk to

people and say, ’It’s not a walk in the park, but you can beat it,’ or,

’Here’s a good book,’ or, ’Stay away from stuff written in the 1980s,’’

she says.



’The fact that I survived and am doing well can really help a lot of

people.’



For the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, H&K is promoting support programs

that connect patients with other patients so they can ask questions that

they may be afraid to ask their doctor. They are also generating

user-friendly information on the state-of-the-art research on cancer

therapies.



One such treatment helped her beat this rare form of cancer. The drug,

Rituxan, is part of a class of cancer drugs called monoclonal antibodies

or ’smart bombs’ that work by specifically targeting cancer cells.





Silver lining



In today’s world of complex therapies, consumers are really hungry for

digestible information on the new treatment categories, some of which

can be difficult to translate into layman’s terms. And Glick’s newfound

expertise, the silver lining in her battle with cancer, helps bring this

information to the consumer on a level that they can understand and

relate to. A daunting task, but she can do just about anything she puts

her mind to. Just ask co-worker Ken Frager, MD of H&K’s health practice

in Washington, DC.



When Glick left a year and a half ago to undergo treatment, all of her

work was done in pen. ’She didn’t like or use computers. In fact, she

despised them,’ Frager recalls. ’But while she was out, she had a tutor

who taught her everything from Microsoft Word to how to create her own

databases. Now she is teaching us some of the things that she

learned.’





Returns a new woman



Glick returned to the office in early June. ’It’s great to be back. It’s

a combination of a new job and an old job. There are a lot of new faces,

but a lot of it’s so very much like what I remember,’ she adds. Now, she

is devoting her time and energy toward developing strategic alliances

with health, medical, nutrition, consumer and patient groups to assist

H&K’s clients in conducting health education campaigns and in building

coalitions to advance health care issues. Senior MD Nancy Hicks says,

’She is as strong of a professional as she has ever been, maybe even

more so because she is just so focused on what she wants to do.’



’(Cancer) is my love but I can apply the same leanings to any new

therapies for any diseases and help empower patients to be smart about

their own treatment,’ Glick says. Her background in food and nutrition

also gives her expertise in preventing disease through diet, exercise,

lifestyle changes and screening programs.



Glick had no choice but to be smart about her own treatment. At first

her condition was misdiagnosed as leukemia. Doctors began treating her

with chemotherapy and she had some bad reactions. Then, all of her

pathology was sent to the National Institutes of Health for the ultimate

diagnosis: splenic marginal zone lymphoma, a cancer so rare that it only

affects 600 people per year.



During the lag time behind diagnosis and treatment, her spleen grew into

her pelvis - causing the liver and kidneys to shut down as she flowed in

and out of consciousness. ’It’s really frightening that you are trying

so hard to maintain control over your life, see this doctor, do research

and the disease has a mind of its own - all of a sudden my plans went

right down the drain,’ she recalls.



After the Rituxan shrunk her spleen, she underwent four months of

chemotherapy and afterwards, a bone marrow transplant. ’I spent six

months building up my strength,’ she says. During that time, the agency

hooked her up to the office so she could e-mail her co-workers and talk

about how she was going to beat this disease. ’Her spirit never failed

her once,’ says Jim Jennings, director of H&K’s US health and

pharmaceutical practice.



It’s funny, he admits, ’We thought we were going to be the ones to

support her and in the end, it’s her spirit that supported us.’



Her husband of 13 years, Michael Leavack, never left her side, even

taking a leave of absence from his job. And Hill & Knowlton stuck by

her, in more ways than one - this Christmas, instead of sending its

clients fruit baskets or candy, the firm donated to the Leukemia and

Lymphoma society in Nancy’s behalf. ’She’s back and has got a great new

perspective and really wants to work a lot in the patient advocacy

arena,’ says Jennings.



’It’s great to have her back, having kicked this disease.’ But it’s

clear that the folks at H&K aren’t the only ones who will benefit from

Glick’s return to PR.





NANCY GLICK



Senior counselor



Health, nutrition, consumer issues Hill & Knowlton



1972



Deputy press secretary US Office of Consumer Affairs



1976



Chief press officer for food, cosmetic and recall issues FDA



1979



Joins H&K, moves up to SVP/group director in the healthcare division



1989



SVP/food and health practice Porter Novelli



1991



SVP/practice director of nutrition and consumer affairs Hill & Knowlton.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.